CSRC Working Paper 20

RoboWar (TM) Dreams: Global South Urbanisation and the US Military’s ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’
Working Paper No : 20 (series 2)
Author(s) : Stephen Graham
Date : November 2007
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This article seeks to open up to critical scrutiny the attempts currently being made to re-engineer post-Cold War US military power to directly confront global south urbanisation. Through analysing the discourses produced by US military commentators about ‘urban warfare,’ and the purported military and technological solutions that might allow US forces to dominate and control global south cities in the future, the paper demonstrates that such environments are being widely essentialised as spaces that necessarily work to undermine the United States’ military’s high-technology systems for surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting. The paper shows how, amid the on-going urban insurgency in Iraq, widescale efforts are being made to ‘urbanise’ these military systems so that US military forces can attempt to assert high-tech dominance over the fine-grained geographies of global south cities in the future. This includes an examination of how US and Israeli forces, by 2007, had already begun to implement ideas of robotised or automated urban warfare to counter the complex insurgencies in Iraq and Palestine/Israel, respectively.

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