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A tale of two foreign policy articles
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fred Kaplan starts his Slate article on Rudy Giuliani's Foreign Policy essay this week thusly:
Rudy Giuliani's essay in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, laying out his ideas for a new U.S. foreign policy, is one of the shallowest articles of its kind I've ever read.
I can only surmise, then, that Kaplan hadn't yet read John Edwards essay in the same issue of the magazine. That's not to say Giuliani's is any great shakes, but compared to the Edwards article, it was a masterpiece. OK, masterpiece is an overstatement, but not by much. If I had to have read the word "reengagement" one more time from Edwards I'd have had to tear my hair out.

After reading it, I concluded the Giuliani piece could be distilled by one paragraph near the end:
After the attacks of 9/11, President Bush put America on the offensive against terrorists, orchestrating the most fundamental change in U.S. strategy since President Harry Truman reoriented American foreign and defense policy at the outset of the Cold War. But times and challenges change, and our nation must be flexible. President Dwight Eisenhower and his successors accepted Truman's framework, but they corrected course to fit the specific challenges of their own times. America's next president must also craft polices to fit the needs of the decade ahead, even as the nation stays on the offensive against the terrorist threat.
In other words, Giuliani intends to pursue the same course as has George Bush, however he intends to improve upon it.

Even shorter version: Bush v2.0.

Obviously there's more to it than that, afterall, it's a 10 page article. However that gives you the gist, the rest is all justification and the tweaks and changes he'll make.

There are a couple of specifics worth mentioning.
The U.S. Army needs a minimum of ten new combat brigades. It may need more, but this is an appropriate baseline increase while we reevaluate our strategies and resources. We must also take a hard look at other requirements, especially in terms of submarines, modern long-range bombers, and in-flight refueling tankers. Rebuilding will not be cheap, but it is necessary. And the benefits will outweigh the costs.
I certainly understand his call for the new combat brigades, however, as I've said in the past, while some level of "submarines and bombers" is obviously necessary, the wars we'll fight in this century most likely won't be against a "near peer", but instead grubby little battles like that in which we're now engaged in Iraq.

I'd like to see someone actually do a real defense review and tell me why submarines and strategic bombers at the level we have them today are still necessary. Our future military conflicts are much more likely to be low-tech light infantry combat and not high-tech near peer battles.

He also continues to advocate the deployment of a missile defense system. At this point that's another pie-in-the-sky system. However, given some of the capabilities of rogue states out there, at least something with some relevance to the enemies and capabilities that we'll most likely encounter during at least the next half century.

Giuliani envisions an expanded role for NATO (which he says should welcome any state that meets the standards of good governance, military readiness and global responsibility) in the war on terror and a UN reduced to only humanitarian and peacekeeping functions. I doubt that Europe will willingly buy into such an expansion of NATO or the new mission. As for the UN, it is what it is and frankly barely useful in either capacity he envisions as exclusive to them at the moment.

One other theme in the Giuliani piece is the "international system". He references this system throughout the piece. Everything we do, and the other great powers do, must be aimed at "strengthening the international system." He defines it, vaguely, in the first paragraph when he says:
Civilization itself, and the international system, had come under attack by a ruthless and radical Islamist enemy.

America and its allies have made progress since that terrible day. We have responded forcefully to the Terrorists' War on Us, abandoning a decade long — and counterproductive — strategy of defensive reaction in favor of a vigorous offense. And we have set in motion changes to the international system that promise a safer and better world for generations to come.
America and its allies, the "civilized world" against a particular enemy and those who support or tolerate that enemy. In reality it is pure Thomas P.M. Barnett and "the core and the gap" ("The Pentagon's New Map", Berkley, 2004). Civilization is the core, the others comprise the "gap".

Barnett's book is definitely worth your perusal if you haven't read it. And within his book he lays out an new force for helping integrate the gap states into the core states. Essentially it is two different structures one exclusively military which he calls "leviathan" and another with some military, but mostly technicians, he calls "systems administrators". The function of the former is to be the military hammer if all else fails. However the function of the latter is to go into failing states and help, for want of a better word, nation build. But you do the nation building in the absence of war, not in the wake of it. It is done before there is a war, not after. We commit to them and aid them with the hope of bringing them into the core without a war.

Giuliani, as I've mentioned, has already addressed "Leviathan" with an increase in combat brigades, etc. He also suggests a "systems administration" type outfit he calls a "Stabilization and Reconstruction Corps".
To assist these missions, the next U.S. president should restructure and coordinate all the agencies involved in that process. A hybrid military-civilian organization — a Stabilization and Reconstruction Corps staffed by specially trained military and civilian reservists — must be developed. The agency would undertake tasks such as building roads, sewers, and schools; advising on legal reform; and restoring local currencies. The United States did similar work, and with great success, in Germany, Japan, and Italy after World War II. But even with the rich civic traditions in these nations, the process took a number of years. We must learn from our past if we want to win the peace as well as the war.
By the way, I'm a Barnett fan and I think this is a good idea. It is obviously always better to confront and help fix a problem before it ever gets to the stage that Leviathan must be used, since once the military is committed you've just lengthened any timeline for success by quite a bit (as we've seen in Iraq and Afghanistan). Obviously committing this S&R Corps isn't going to be possible in every case, but where we can, I think it is a worthwhile endeavor.

That brings me to the Edwards piece. For the most part, Max Boot accurately and suitably demolishes the Edwards essay in one paragraph:
By contrast, John Edwards’s article in the same issue of Foreign Affairs is filled with pure pablum that will be familiar to anyone who recalls the Kerry campaign. He calls for a “strategy of reengagement” with the world, and even advocates greater military intervention in Darfur, at the same time that he advocates disengagement from Iraq, the central front in the war on terrorism. He even calls the “war on terror” “a bumper sticker, not a plan.” Actually, Edwards favors bumper stickers himself, writing, at one point, “we need substance, not slogans.”
I couldn't agree more. Of course Boot has consulted with Giuliani on foreign policy (which he discloses in the article) but when I read his critque of Edwards, I found it to be an almost perfect reflection of my own thought.

A couple of interesting points though. Edwards also refers to the "international system":
We will have to continue integrating rising powers into a peaceful international system by convincing them that they can both benefit from and contribute to the system's strength.
Again, pure Thomas P.M. Barnett, to the point that Edwards, like Giuliani, proposes a "systems administration" organization. He calls his the "Marshall Corps":
These missions are demanding, dangerous, and expensive. They require a wide range of resources and sources of knowledge, from experts in water purification to medical technicians, judges to corrections officers, bankers to stock-market analysts. In most cases, the help of thousands of such specialists is required. Yet for years, the U.S. government has not been properly prepared for these kinds of missions. As a result, when these situations arise, the government turns repeatedly to the only existing institution with the required logistical capabilities and a sufficiently broad range of skills: the military. But the military lacks many of the resources that are required to conduct these missions successfully. To resolve these problems, I will establish a Marshall Corps during my first year in office, named for our greatest secretary of state, General George Marshall. The Marshall Corps, patterned after the military reserves, will consist of at least 10,000 civilian experts who could be deployed abroad to serve in reconstruction, stabilization, and humanitarian missions.
Unfortunately, Edwards misses the boat again when he restricts his Marshall Corps to "civilian experts". That's not the structure Barnett uses and he gives some excellent reason why some military presence is necessary in that sort of a force.

But that's about it on Edwards. There was just not much there, except, as noted, the continual attempt to paint the US as an isolated power and to stress the need to 'reengage'. Maddening. And, as you might surmise, Edwards hails from the "diplomacy can solve everything" school of thought.

Anyway, my 2-cents. Add yours.
 
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I’d like to see someone actually do a real defense review and tell me why submarines and strategic bombers at the level we have them today are still necessary.

1) Admirals and Air Force Generals lobby exttremely well;
2) Submarines and B-2’s don’t die and necessitate "The Secretary is deeply saddned to inform you lettres..." which so distress Congressional members and their constituents;
3) Combat brigades aren’t built in Gulfport and Passagoula (sp.) MS and aren’t built from components made in all 50 states.

Just my 2 cents....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ writes:
tell me why submarines and strategic bombers at the level we have them today are still necessary.
China.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
McQ writes:
One other theme in the Giuliani piece is the "international system". He references this system throughout the piece. Everything we do, and the other great powers do, must be aimed at "strengthening the international system." He defines it,
I don’t think that he really does define it, vaguely or otherwise. The term "international system" is a little too fungible for my taste, although I use it myself. What I mean when I use it is the "sovereign state system" which includes its collective security apparatus, i.e., the ability for sovereign states (sometimes through the UN, sometimes through NATO, sometimes through temporary alliances) to stop rogue regimes from attacking neighbors and in some cases their own citizens based on what are essentially the values of liberal democracy as viewed (most often) through a realist lens. (Though the values of liberal democracy are, to a great extent, idealist, especially as promoted by the United States. Those values are economic freedom and consensual government that protects individual rights, which are, among other things, essential to the aforesaid economic freedom.)

What I fear about that "international system" is that it’s about to breakdown. I think that the EU is the death rattle of Europe, for instance. I think that Russia has, in many respects, already collapsed. With its nuclear weapons it maintains the profile of a "corpse in armor."

China is directionless and omnivorous and in many respects detached from reality. It’s not a country but, rather, a bureaucracy. It might be in the room. It might be 800 pounds. But what the hell will it do if it ever has to get up out of the chair. That makes it inherently a danger to itself and others.

About India I have no idea what to think.

The Pan-Islamic world is in a rage in its own ashes, and ready to kill anything that crosses its path, inclusive of itself in any modern guise.

If the sovereign state system survives in its (aspiring and actualized) form of liberal democracy, well, it will be quite interesting to see how that happens.

(NB: The more common fear about the fate of the sovereign state system, and a real one, is that it will consolidate into a world government, which would be a catastrophe.)
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
the only thing pertinent is the Giuliani article, Edwards is a silly little socialist demagogue who is way out his league.

I did not find much to cheer about in the Rudy article but did not find much that was bad either. I don’t like the idea of expanding NATO, ad infinitum. in fact we would be well advised to pull our troops out of the many little non-strategic nations the are in now.

On the other hand, I believe Rudy is the only hope to defeat Hillary and that is the only thing that matters.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Giuliani’s mention of submarines and bombers was vague. He could mean "taking a hard" look to be "determining whether we are spending too much on them given the new nature of warfare".
 
Written By: Jonathan Biggar
URL: http://
I’d like to see someone actually do a real defense review and tell me why submarines and strategic bombers at the level we have them today are still necessary. Our future military conflicts are much more likely to be low-tech light infantry combat and not high-tech near peer battles
...unless we get into it with Russia or China....

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The tactical usefulness of strategic bombers has been demonstrated to my satisfaction. I don’t know that we need to build more, other than the fact that networked radar arrays have rendered geometric stealth obsolete.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
If the unlikely happens, and the defense contractor’s dream scenario plays out vis-a-vis a war with China, stealth bombers won’t be enough to help us, and (especially) neither will over-priced F-22 fighters. The US needs a larger airforce and navy if it truly wants to compete with China, and buying over-priced low-quantity Cold War weapon systems won’t cut it. As military columnist Ralph Peters put it, the US needs "a fleet of pickup trucks, not a couple Ferraris." And, beyond all that, the US would STILL need a robust ground force much larger than the one we have.

Iraq should have clearly demonstrated to all that "shock-and-awe" bombing campaigns are ineffective (unless we’re willing to engage in WW2 style morale-busting strategic raids on civilian centers, like in Dresden and Bonn - which, of course, is beyond unlikely to happen.) No amount of technology or lobbying will alter the reality that wars are fought won on the ground.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Oops, not sure why I said Bonn; replace with something else like Cologne or Berlin or some such.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Giuliani’s mention of submarines and bombers was vague. He could mean "taking a hard" look to be "determining whether we are spending too much on them given the new nature of warfare".
I thought so to until he mentioned refueling capability in the same sentence. Obviously something which we can’t do without and when lumped in with subs and bombers, implies the same for them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Among other things (see his post) JamesO writes:
The US needs a larger airforce and navy if it truly wants to compete with China,
Compete in what way? You don’te want to compete with China, you want to deter China. You want China to know that it cannot become militarily aggressive. For that you need strategic weapons and alliances (with India and Japan, for instance), not conventional armies, because you are never going to fight a land war with China, ever. Another thing you do not want is to allow China to maneuver itself into a position of mutual deterrence with you.

Our strategic problem with China relates in large part to our security guarantee to Japan, where Japan relies on us instead of rearming. Japan is China’s natural military rival and a seriously re-armed Japan is the correct antidote to China’s hegemonic aspirations in East Asia. India is the antidote in the West. We are the strategic guarantors. The weak sister in this is Russia, which is depopulating in its eastern region, which could wind up as part of China.
Iraq should have clearly demonstrated to all that "shock-and-awe" bombing campaigns are ineffective
The shock and awe campaign in Iraq worked like a charm. We defeated the Iraqi army and captured Baghdad in, what, 20 days. Shock and awe was a critical element of that victory.

Shock and awe is a conventional military strategy, and in that context it worked exactly like it was supposed to.

It’s not a counter-insurgency strategy.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
One thing that both Edwards and Barnett fail to understand, is that Radical Islamis ideology will not vanish simply because third world poverty is alleviated or the gap gets connected to the core. They refuse to accept the power that religion can have over people, regardless of economic class.

There are more Christians who believe in 6-day creation now than ever before, despite the fact that America is more economically prosperous than ever before. Do you think bored, suburban teenagers in Islamic countries are going to magically become liberal and tolerant simply because they live in a wealthy country?
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
Jimmy the Dhimmi writes:
There are more Christians who believe in 6-day creation now than ever before, despite the fact that America is more economically prosperous than ever before.
I don’t believe in "6-day creation," but those who do have certainly gained some support from the prevailing theory of the Big Bang (way off the thread topic here), which is the theory of "cosmic inflation." Under that theory, which has been repeatedly confirmed by satellite mapping of cosmic microwave background radiation, the universe expanded from "primordial matter" the size of a sub-atomic particle to the size of the observable universe in a trillionth of a trillionth of a second.

I’d say that the "6-day creation" believers, at the very least, have Day One covered, with plenty to spare.

We don’t hear an awful lot of talk about cosmic inflation among circles of the "enlightened elite," but like I said, it is the prevailing theory of the Big Bang and it explains why the universe is "flat" with such even thermal distribution.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Let’s see. http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=6698
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
The ’shock and awe’ campaign was, as I understand it, intended to make Saddam/the entire Iraqi military up and surrender without us having to do any fighting. In the end though, it was Army and Marine divisions that did the fighting. That’s where the money needs to go - not to fancy and expensive precision munitions fired from hundred-million-dollar Cold War platforms, but for improved IFVs and infantry weapons.

’ve yet to win a war with airstrikes alone; even in Kosovo, Milosevic didn’t surrender until there was a serious threat of a ground conflict. I don’t think China can be deterred with strategic weapons, since a conventional strategic weapons exchange would run the risk of a nuclear exchange. The best deterrent to China is, as you say, from military alliances with other regional powers. Let them shoulder the burden of containment.

China has too much to lose in a conventional war against the USA, and it would probably face internal pressures from their business community (and we from ours) to end it swiftly. The more likely model would probably resemble Hezbollah’s war against Israel - a war waged by proxy insurgent groups (or some other nontraditional/unorthodox tactic - information warfare and the like.) In any case, continued conflict in the Mideast is substantially more likely and more relevant than maximalist doomsday predictions of a war against China.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
China has too much to lose in a conventional war against the USA, and it would probably face internal pressures from their business community (and we from ours) to end it swiftly. The more likely model would probably resemble Hezbollah’s war against Israel - a war waged by proxy insurgent groups (or some other nontraditional/unorthodox tactic - information warfare and the like.) In any case, continued conflict in the Mideast is substantially more likely and more relevant than maximalist doomsday predictions of a war against China.
I think you have that backwards. Once China is comfortable with their industrial infrastructure and our dependency on them, they will use the dependency of our businesses to complicate any conflict. However, if their business community dissents, they’ll tell them to go blow. And if they don’t, they’ll just shoot them. There’s been executions over the product safety issue already. Because business is a means to an end for them or another tool like their military. And if things are running correctly, heads roll.

 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Yes, but they still rely on our deep pockets to buy all the stuff they make. While they could probably find other customers, the US is a larger market and spends more money. A basic tenet of free-market economics is to not kill your best customers, right? They could certainly hurt us bad in a war - but what would they stand to gain? We may have more liabilities in some respects, but they too need us to pour money into their economy to keep the good times rolling.

Naturally, theres always a possibility that a leader comes to power who’s out of his mind and just wants to declare war on us for no reason. However, you can’t really deter crazy, so I think that still leaves strategic weaponry in limbo.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
JamesO writes:
The ’shock and awe’ campaign was, as I understand it, intended to make Saddam/the entire Iraqi military up and surrender without us having to do any fighting.
No, shock and awe was intended to immobilize the regime and its command structure, leaving it confused and out of control of the military situation, or even to disperse it and get it running for its life. That would make it easier for the push into Baghdad. I don’t think that anyone expected Hussein to surrender.

I cautioned that the push into Baghdad was going to be relatively casualty-heavy, and I turned out to be wrong. I thought that we might lose up to 4,000 soldiers trying to get into and take control of the city. And I thought that was optimistic, based on the likely effect of shock and awe. But shock and awe was wildly successful and we lost a few hundred troops taking a monstrous city in a Middle Eastern country.

And we still have not lost 4,000 soldiers, despite the insurgency, four and a half years later.
We’ve yet to win a war with airstrikes alone
We had no intention of trying to win the Iraq war with airstrikes alone; that’s why we had ~140,000 troops on the ground with all that armor. Shock and awe was key to the battle plan that allowed those troops to fight an Iraqi army that had been cut off from the regime and its military command. In other words, shock and awe allowed us to fight a headless force.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
JamesO writes:
I don’t think China can be deterred with strategic weapons,
Everyone is deterred by strategic weapons, even Iran.

I’m a firm believer that one of the reasons we haven’t received one of A.Q. Khan’s little packages in the United States is that it has been made clear to every regime with possible culpability that a return address isn’t necessary for us to hold someone responsible. And by "hold responsible" I mean with a strategic response.

That’s what "nothing is off the table" means, when you hear the President say it, and I think that it’s been said in much more personal ways to a variety of thugs around the world.

The Chinese game is to wait forever. Meanwhile, their population is being transformed by information technology into wanting a better and freer life. But that will not necessarily be synchronized with how the regime will behave if it becomes agitated and radicalized by, for instance, changes within its own population.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
"The ’shock and awe’ campaign was, as I understand it, intended to make Saddam/the entire Iraqi military up and surrender without us having to do any fighting."

Only extreme airpower advocates, a minority even in the Air Force, have ever thought that air power alone would win a war. They have always been wrong.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Martin McPhillips:
Everyone is deterred by strategic weapons, even Iran.
You missed the remaining part of the sentence when you quoted me - my point was that I don’t think that we can’t really deter China with conventional strategic weapons because they’re already a nuclear power. Further, I’m pretty sure our inventory is sufficient to deter any other realistic target regime for the foreseeable future (we already something like, what, 20 B-2s? And how many more B-1Bs and B-52s? I love carpet bombing as much as the next guy, but do we really need even more platforms which have zero use in COIN warfare?)

The defense industry was built primarily to fight the USSR. With that threat only recently dead, I think they paint China as a more likely scenario than it really is (if your only tool is a hammer...) China represents the closest analogous opponent to the Cold War USSR, but its just beyond unlikely that we will engage in an open conflict with them, and even less likely they will humor us with a conventional war where we can deploy all this fancy technology.

Further, I think its a fairly obvious observation that weapons are only as good as your willingness to use them. Media pressure forced a cessation in the fighting at the first battle of Fallujah because we were "too harsh." Do you think that, given those circumstances, we will ever be able to credibly threaten a regime with the flattening of its cities through strategic weaponry? We might be able to threaten infrastructure, but I don’t see how the present strategic inventory is insufficient for that job.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
My point is, Martin, that people do not abandon religious beliefs sourced from a blind devotion to scripture, just because of economic prosperity. In terms of Islam - jihad, sharia law and misogynistic practices - will not be rejected by muslim societies simply because they become wealthy and "connected." Those religious beliefs must be rejected, the same way Jews have rejected enforcement of Mosaic laws in Israel, or the way Mormons (LDS church) have rejected polygamy, or the Catholics reject 6-day creation as natural history.

The theology of the Islamic Jihad has to be reformed throughout the Muslim world, or else economic prosperity might make the situation even worse.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
Martin, here’s a presentation given at the US Army War College in the wake of OIF, presenting a case for the war being won so efficiently more by the high skill differential between US and Iraqi forces than by shock and awe. The report suggests that morale was broken not by the speed of the shock and awe campaign, but by urban close-combat fighting - http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/congress/2003_hr/03-10-21warcollege.pdf

timactual:

Only extreme airpower advocates, a minority even in the Air Force, have ever thought that air power alone would win a war. They have always been wrong.
You mean like Bill "chuck a missile at ’em" Clinton and Donald "occupation-lite" Rumsfeld? Maybe they’re a minority of the uniformed personnel, but that doctrine seems to have cachet amongst casualty-averse politicians.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
JamesO writes:
The report suggests that morale was broken not by the speed of the shock and awe campaign,
Shock and awe was directed at the regime and the command structure. It’s purpose was to disable and confuse it and kill it and disperse it. In other words, to cut the head off of Iraq’s forces and their capacity to resist.

What was left of the Iraqi army and militia units — i.e., those still willing to fight — did, I’m sure, have their morale broken when they engaged in close-in fighting with American and British forces.

Shock and awe made a profoud contribution even there.

These are two different aspects of the war, however. Laying the groundwork for the fighting and the fighting itself. Shock and awe, as I said, worked like a charm, and ground forces did everything that was expected of them.

 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
JamesO writes:
my point was that I don’t think that we can’t really deter China with conventional strategic weapons because they’re already a nuclear power.
What you’re suggesting is that they have reached parity with the U.S. in that regard, and that they have achieved the status of "mutual deterrence."

That’s not the case. They do not have parity with us, or anything close to it, nor should they be allowed to get anywhere near that capacity.
but do we really need even more platforms which have zero use in COIN warfare?
The reason that we now face primarily asymmetrical threats is because we hold such a huge edge in our ability to conduct conventional and strategic warfare.

We need to maintain that edge, and to keep it huge, lest we tempt an already great (China) or emerging (Iran) power to test our will in that area.

That’s the way we can face asymmetrical threats and low-intensity wars like that in Iraq without having to look over our shoulder.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
We used B-52s in our battles against the Taliban’s conventional forces.

Let’s not keep fighting the next war with this war’s doctrine. This war happens to be a counter-insurgency. The next one might have less of that.

If we need to hit North Korea, China, or whoever, a bunch of light infantry brigades will not do the trick by themselves. OTOH, we do have some tech that means even light units can fight armor, like the Javelin anti-tank missile.

Obviously there needs to be some balance.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Also, for all the China analysis here, they would most likely be fighting us over Taiwan. Unless we plan to nuke them if they invade Taiwan, I don’t think they are being deterred.

They are currently deterred because of fear of a military failure and economic fall-out, plus maybe Taiwan will swing their way slowly without force.

Also:

"The reason that we now face primarily asymmetrical threats is because we hold such a huge edge in our ability to conduct conventional and strategic warfare."

completely correct.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
The presentation I linked earlier seems to suggest that the speed of shock and awe was sort of a non-factor - it didn’t hurt, certainly, to use it, but the findings seemed to say that it would have been a substantially more costly war without it. It specifically stated that they believed a "Fortress Baghdad" wouldn’t have happened regardless of how long we took, because the Iraqi army was not trained for urban combat.
What you’re suggesting is that they have reached parity with the U.S. in that regard, and that they have achieved the status of "mutual deterrence."
Yes, you read me correctly - I do think they have a mutual deterrent capacity because they, much like us, possess nuclear weapons. For what reasons do you think they do not have mutual deterrence with us? Are you basing that just on conventional stockpiles?

We will probably maintain our strategic tech advantage over the majority of the world’s militaries practically indefinitely (i.e. I don’t think we need new tech to scare Iran.) If we cannot hope to even consider a ground war against China, and if our hypothetical bombing campaigns would be limited by the global press, then our strategic deterrence of them will be limited at best.

The defense budget needs to be designed to fight the threats that are currently threatening us (the Mideast, global terrorism, i.e. prolonged occupations and COIN warfare.) War with China is exceedingly unlikely and paranoid predictions of such just saps budget money away from the Army and Marines that are actually fighting right now. Right now theres no indication China wants to invade other countries overtly, but plenty of indication that they don’t mind supporting other hostile or potentially hostile smaller nations (Sudan, Iran,) which would more likely mean a low-intensity engagement for us against Chinese proxies, rather than outright conflict with the PLA.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Let’s not keep fighting the next war with this war’s doctrine. This war happens to be a counter-insurgency. The next one might have less of that.
While I certainly agree that we shouldn’t automatically template all future wars based on the last, it is equally true that we shouldn’t template them off of the one-before-last (i.e. the Cold War.) However, given the surprising degree of success Hezbollah enjoyed in their war with Israel in 2006, and the effectiveness of the Iraq insurgency presently, it is not unlikely that future adversaries will try to duplicate those sucesses. (Note: in the above paragraph, actual "success" and "media perception of success" are interchangeable.)
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
JamesO writes:
The presentation I linked earlier seems to suggest that the speed of shock and awe was sort of a non-factor - it didn’t hurt, certainly, to use it, but the findings seemed to say that it would have been a substantially more costly war without it.
That sentence is a contradiction. Did you mean that without shock and awe it would have been a substantially less costly war.

No matter. Shock and awe was most certainly not a non-factor. It did exactly what it was supposed to do, which was decapitate and scramble the regime and its command structure. That left the Iraqi army units without any serious direction from Baghdad, which was one of the reasons a lot of them got the hell off and away from the battlefield and our units had a pretty clean ride in.
The defense budget needs to be designed to fight the threats that are currently threatening us (the Mideast, global terrorism, i.e. prolonged occupations and COIN warfare.)
The defense budget is not an either/or problem. And our strategic forces are every bit as important to fighting terrorism, particularly Middle Eastern terrorism as a special forces. And there will not be a time in the foreseeable future where we won’t need to maintain clear superiority in both.

About China:
Yes, you read me correctly - I do think they have a mutual deterrent capacity because they, much like us, possess nuclear weapons. For what reasons do you think they do not have mutual deterrence with us?
Oh, I don’t know, something along the lines of a 50 to 1 advantage on our part, with vast superiority in delivery. Meaning that their lights are out before they can get much of anything in the air. I would be very surprised if the Chinese considered that to be mutual deterrence. That would be a little like a stick-up man with a .38 thinking he could deter an NYPD SWAT team.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Jimmy the Dhimmi writes:
My point is, Martin,
I got your point. Prosperity alone will not result in the abandonment of jihad and could likely make it worse. I agree, 100%. We saw that with the cadre of Muslim doctors in the U.K. plotting terror attacks and just missing with a couple of car bombs. Stanley Kurtz over at NRO traces the radicalization of doctors in Egypt back, I believe, to the Muslim Brotherhood. See Kurtz’s recent article archive if you’re interested.

My comment was to the side, about the belief in "six-day creation," and how the theory of cosmic inflation has given the believers in "six-day creation" a win on at least the first day of creation. I think that cosmic inflation is the most shocking scientific theory I’ve ever come across, and it’s not impossible, given that the observable universe came into existence in a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, that we will eventually find out that other events that one might now believe took billions of years to occur, happened rather more immediately. It’s a strange universe out there. And getting stranger all the time.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Martin McPhillips:
That sentence is a contradiction. Did you mean that without shock and awe it would have been a substantially less costly war.
Oops, not sure how I messed that one up, thanks for pointing that out. I meant to say it "WOULDN’T have been a more costly war..." - i.e. the presentation, as I understand it, indicated that we won the war so efficiently because of the skill mismatch between the US armed forces and the Iraqi army, and that the Iraqi officers below division-level command seemed to just have little situational awareness - but higher-ups did in fact know what was happening and could react accordingly.

When you say our strategic forces are important for deterring terrorism, what do you mean? Strategic bombing doesn’t seem to be the ideal method for dealing with that threat, unless they do centralize into an easily bombable location (like the camps in Afghanistan) - but to me, that raises the question, why isn’t the present inventory of strategic weapons sufficient? In the struggle in Iraq, and any future conflicts like it, I should think that more strategic weapons would be a low priority need.

We might have more nukes than China, but more important than quantity, I would think, is who launches first. Do you think the USA would launch a first-strike nuclear attack? Barring a catastrophic collapse of relations, that seems implausible to me (i.e. I think a sneak attack ON us is more likely than one BY us.) You don’t need that many nukes to hit the major central infrastructure of the US and cripple our economy.

To me the most important equation would be what is the most likely conflict to erupt - and I think China falls pretty low on that list, way behind the DPRK, Pakistan, Iran and a host of other ethnic conflicts from the Mideast to Africa. China is in my mind, a good (but highly improbable) worst case scenario, and one that we already have significant strategic deterrences prepared for.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
" Maybe they’re a minority of the uniformed personnel, but that doctrine seems to have cachet amongst casualty-averse politicians"

And they are still wrong.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
JamesO writes:
When you say our strategic forces are important for deterring terrorism, what do you mean?
I mean that no state sponsor of terror can get itself off the hook for potential culpability in a WMD attack on the U.S. even if its return address isn’t on the attack. See my comments about an "A.Q. Khan package" earlier in the thread.

In other words, as Beck would say, this ain’t no disco. And as the President says, "nothing is off the table." There’s a reason that nothing is off the table vis a vis terrorism.
Do you think the USA would launch a first-strike nuclear attack [on China]?

[and]

To me the most important equation would be what is the most likely conflict to erupt - and I think China falls pretty low on that list,
An inscrutable 800-pound man is sitting in your living room. You don’t know exactly what he wants, and he may not in fact know what he wants. But he is a troubled and dangerous man and he is heavily armed.

Do you take blowing off his bloody head off the table?

Indeed, there are other potentially serious strategic problems in the world, but none of them are the 800-pound man.

China is just coming out of a period in its history where the government was essentially responsible for killing 100 million of its own people. The legatees of that period still control the government. They believe that they are very wise men, and put great stock in their own wisdom.

I put great stock in being able to blow their bloody head off if that killing fury they featured just minutes ago (in terms of Chinese history) gets turned on again.

That’s my perspective on a crumbled civilization approaching a population of 1.5 billion being run by the legatees of a regime that killed a hundred million people. All the talk about modernization and entering the world economy is to talk about insane bastards being out on parole, lest anyone forget who we’re talking about here.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Jimmy the Dhimmi: "The theology of the Islamic Jihad has to be reformed throughout the Muslim world, or else economic prosperity might make the situation even worse."

And if we don’t understand the mindset that said theology stems from (irrationality, primitivism, subjectivism, etc.) we still wind up farting into the wind.

Worse yet, we have to contend with similar mindsets here at home.

 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://

 
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