January 01, 2018

Countering Entropy in the New Year

By Jerry Hendrix

In a year-end summary, one of our nation’s major weekly news publications recently tweeted that one of its most-read articles featured former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev saying that it appeared that the world is preparing for war. This apparently came as a shock to the man who once controlled about half of the world’s nuclear arsenal, but of course it shouldn’t be a shock. Entropy, the gradual decline into disorder, is the natural state of both man and universes. Every nation, as part of its daily life, spends some portion of its time preparing to shore up order within its boundaries while defending itself from external entropy and existential threats. The only reason that it seems odd that the topic of war is so much in the news is that we have gone through such an abnormally long period of stability and international peace. 

“What ‘peace’?” some might say, pointing at Iraq and Afghanistan or even Yemen and Syria. Surely there has been no “peace” in the world for some time. Such observations are both true and false.

True that peace has not reigned throughout the world for some time, but false in that the broader international environment has been largely at peace since the end of World War II, the last worldwide conflagration, the last civilizational war. Both world wars, and many other wars before them, brought about the extinction of nations and empires and the deaths of thousands or millions, depending on the time in which they were waged. In each of these historic cases, the cause of civilization was set back, with literacy, per capita income, and life expectancies dropping while entropy and chaos rose.

Read the full op-ed in National Review.

  • Commentary
    • Breaking Defense
    • November 18, 2021
    For JADC2 to Have a Chance, DoD Needs to Get Serious About Data Standards

    We are past the tipping point where information and decision-centric capabilities are more important instruments of war than kinetic weapons....

    By Robert O. Work & Billy Fabian

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • November 17, 2021
    The U.S. Military and the Coming Great-Power Challenge

    Simply put, China and Russia had no interest in joining a U.S.-led international order. They had long rejected it. They had only lacked the means to openly contest it....

    By Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, Jr.

  • Commentary
    • November 10, 2021
    Sharper: Global Posture

    The Department of Defense is finalizing the first global posture review of the Biden administration, an assessment of the U.S. military's global footprint. What will the admin...

    By Anna Pederson

  • Commentary
    • Lawfare
    • November 7, 2021
    Over-the-Horizon Does Not Have to Mean Next Door

    Military pressure is only one element of a broader counterterrorism strategy to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a launching pad for terrorist operations against t...

    By Stacie Pettyjohn

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia