The subtitle of the book says a lot about what is inside - "The next stage of terrorism and the end of globalization".
It starts out describing the new format that terrorism is and will be using - small, decentralized groups wreaking havoc on specified targets. The example of Iraq is brought in constantly and how the terrorists are constantly wrecking electricity hubs, oil lines and more to sow seeds of doubt in that population about the current rulers. Mentioned quite a few times is the huge payback on blowing up a pipeline, for instance. A relatively simple and inexpensive plan can be rewarded with absolutely huge payoffs, monetarily. Think 911 and what it has cost us.
But the "black swan", as an enormous event such as 911 is called, will be the more rare terror occurrence. According to Robb, small, numerous events such as the bombing of important nodes in Iraq will be the norm. I couldn't agree more. There will still be black swans on occasion, but they are much harder to coordinate, train for, and finance than the occasional car bomb or set explosive.
Robb goes into great detail explaining that the only way that these events can take place is if the terror groups decentralize themselves and operate somewhat independently. Economics, as always, plays a factor as well. An example was cited that showed that there were groups of terrorists that would "rent themselves out" to people who wanted certain highways, electricity grids or other things such as these taken out in Iraq. The black market economy only helps these people acquire things they need to make their weapons.
The book then turns to what it may look like if these groups started doing their voodoo here in the United States. The picture that is painted is not pretty. I really didn't learn too much in this section of the book, which is the last third. But you might.
It should have been very painfully evident after Katrina (mentioned several times in the book) that the government will NOT be there for you after an event such as that. Granted, Katrina is a "black swan", but black swans will happen again, and it is impossible to know where. Heck the power grid for one quarter of the population went down a few years ago and that was just from our own aging infrastructure and poor design. I have written ad nauseam about Katrina and its effects - and what you should do about it and you can see those articles on the sidebar. I won't bore you with the details here, but lets just say that in a massive catastrophe, you NEED to have some sort of plan in place and MUST rely on yourself to get the job done. Another black swan will happen someday.
In the very last portion of the book Robb goes over some possible solutions. The biggest one is decentralization. Everything from oil delivery systems, basic services, electricity, you name it. And he mentions that large corporations and the rich will be the first ones to do it. Those who can afford it will have generators, jets, and safe havens. Private security forces already guard many oil fields and other assets owned by multi-national corporations. When the next wave of mayhem hits, the market will provide many solutions to those who can afford them to ensure the safety of their families and posessions - and the property of companies. Poor people will suffer as they will be stuck where they are and with what they have - a reliance on the State to take care of them. Keep thinking Katrina.
Most urgently Robb almost begs for the US to radically restructure the electricity grid. Again, those who can afford it will simply go off the grid - through the use of wind, solar and other types of generation. Another interesting point he made is that some municipalities may just go ahead and create their own power generation and distribution. A wonderful example he provides is suburbia - I think Chicago. Many suburbs are breaking apart from large cities as we speak to ensure their own safety and care. This is an excellent point. IIRC there is a suburb in Atlanta doing this exact thing right now and I would argue that many suburbs in the Chicago area will eventually break away from the black hole that is Cook County. Do you honestly think that people in places like Downers Grove will ever send their kids to the Chicago Public Schools? On the flip side, what sort of parent, if they have the resources and live in the City of Chicago wouldn't send their kid to a private school? That would be borderline child abuse.
De-centralization of everything seems to be Robb's key point.
There is also a section about the decline of the nation-state. I didn't think too hard about this section as it was a bit tough for me to process and I honestly don't believe I will see it in my lifetime.
I enjoyed this book immensely, although is is a bit depressing. Sometimes reality is a bitch, I guess. Robb is a decent writer and the book reads fast and is relatively small (under 200 pages). As with any text about this subject I disagreed with a few things (minor) but I completely agree with the overall gist. What Robb is trying to say is that it will get worse - much worse - before it gets better. After millions of people are failed by our central government, they will have to start organizing themselves locally to prepare for disasters, and this goes down even to neighborhoods. I realized after Katrina that I needed to at least prepare myself to be able to make if for a while if there was a natural or terror diaster. I hope that you have done the same. It may be your only chance.