Strategic Latency and World Order

Abstract

This article examines “strategic latency,” a condition in which technologies that could provide military (or economic) advantage remain untapped. As difficult as it is to explain why certain ideas and technologies flourish and find rapid acceptance, it is equally hard to understand why some good ideas languish, only to be rediscovered and exploited under other circumstances. Why is latent capacity so often dormant? What are the indicators that latent capacity is on the verge of being weaponized?

History is merely a list of surprises. . . . It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick

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