Author Topic: US Foreign Policy & Geopolitics  (Read 324444 times)

ccp

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Hawley to Sweden Finland for NATO
« Reply #1250 on: August 01, 2022, 02:48:49 PM »
instead we need to focus where the real threat is to us:

https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/josh-hawley-nato-china/2022/08/01/id/1081254/

DougMacG

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Re: US Foreign Policy & Geopolitics
« Reply #1251 on: August 02, 2022, 02:44:15 PM »
I support and applaud Biden for approving the hit on the al Qaida leader, as I did for Obama with regard to bin Laden.

Too bad we don't all agree on more things.

G M

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Re: US Foreign Policy & Geopolitics
« Reply #1252 on: August 02, 2022, 02:47:20 PM »
I support and applaud Biden for approving the hit on the al Qaida leader, as I did for Obama with regard to bin Laden.

Too bad we don't all agree on more things.

I'm pretty sure this is the 3rd time we've killed him. Maybe he'll stay dead now.

At least our very professional intelligence professionals wouldn't lie to us.

G M

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I'm not the only unbeliever
« Reply #1253 on: August 02, 2022, 05:48:16 PM »
I support and applaud Biden for approving the hit on the al Qaida leader, as I did for Obama with regard to bin Laden.

Too bad we don't all agree on more things.

I'm pretty sure this is the 3rd time we've killed him. Maybe he'll stay dead now.

At least our very professional intelligence professionals wouldn't lie to us.

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2022/08/02/joe-biden-delivers-a-jumbled-word-salad-after-claiming-under-extremely-suspect-circumstances-the-u-s-killed-ayman-al-zawahiri/

DougMacG

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Re: I'm not the only unbeliever, al zawahiri
« Reply #1254 on: August 03, 2022, 04:11:25 AM »
I meant to say, if true, I support the action.

Crafty_Dog

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George Friedman: America, War, and the Atlantic
« Reply #1255 on: August 06, 2022, 06:08:04 PM »
GF is a very shrewd man, but don't know if he is addressing all the variables here.

For example, does America have the bandwidth for this AND China, Iran, North Korea, AQ/ISIS, and Mexico?

And the EU is as big as our economy more or less-- let their blood and treasure be spilt in their defense.




August 5, 2022
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America, War and the Atlantic
Thoughts in and around geopolitics.
By: George Friedman
On Aug. 1, 1914, Germany declared war on Russia. Two days later, Germany declared war on France. The following day, Britain declared war on Germany, and then on Aug. 6, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Russia. Within a week, Britain would declare war on Austria-Hungary.

Germany unified in 1871, and in doing so emerged as an economic powerhouse. It rapidly outstripped France, and by the end of the century it was challenging Britain. With economic growth came power. Germany was aware of the anxiety it was creating in Europe, and it reasonably believed that a simultaneous attack by Britain, France and Russia would crush it. It chose to launch a preemptive war, assuming this would throw them off balance and set the stage for a negotiation guaranteeing Germany’s status. The Austro-Hungarian Empire saw value in its relationship with Germany and opportunities to expand into Russia. The British declared war on Austria-Hungary to give Russia a sense of being part of a powerful coalition and to prevent a Russian truce with Germany.

Which is all to say that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand didn’t trigger the war; the war had been well planned by all the parties over the years. The killing was simply occasion to begin the planned operations. The war was hardwired – like many wars, it was expected to be a short affair. It wasn’t. No one trusted the other enough to make concessions needed to wage peace, and as a result somewhere between 15 million and 20 million people died.

The United States got involved in 1917, after the Russian czar was overthrown. The Americans feared that Russia would abandon the war and that German troops would be massed in the west, with France overrun and Britain facing the German navy. Washington feared that a victorious Germany would come to dominate the Atlantic and threaten the United States. When German U-boats sank the Lusitania, American fears were confirmed. U.S. troops were sent to France, where some 100,000 were killed. The U.S. did not itself win the war, but it prevented the Anglo-French alliance from losing it. Afterward, the U.S. withdrew from Europe, assuming the defeat of Germany had ended the tale.

Of course, European tales do not end so neatly. In the 1930s, Germany rearmed, then conquered France and invaded Russia. The United States followed the World War I strategy, focused on retaining control of the Atlantic. It supplied Britain with the means to wage war in the Atlantic, in return for Britain leasing most of its bases in the Western Hemisphere to the United States and guaranteeing that, in the event of British defeat, the British fleet would sail to North American ports. Washington did not get involved in European operations until 1943, and not in decisive operations until 1944. For the United States, the European peninsula was a means to defend the Atlantic, which could shield it from foreign attacks, not in itself crucial to its national security. About 50 million people died in the war.

This time, the U.S. did not withdraw when the war was over. It saw a threat from Russia forming and, having lost confidence in the ability of the Europeans to defend themselves, saw itself as Europe’s security guarantor, not as an act of chivalry but as a means of maintaining primacy in the Atlantic. Most saw the Cold War as a potential land war against Russia. This misses the strategic point. Europe could not defend itself, and the full force needed to block a Russian attack couldn’t be stationed there. In the event of a Russian attack, the U.S. would send large convoys of men, equipment and supplies, and the convoys would continue to supply NATO forces throughout the war.

The primary Russian strategy would be to destroy or block U.S. shipping across the Atlantic. A submarine force and long-range, supersonic aircraft were deployed to carry out the mission. The U.S. prepared a force of aircraft carriers, anti-submarine systems and anti-air, anti-missile systems to protect the convoys. If the Russians closed the Atlantic, they would win the war. If they did not, they would lose it. The first significant battle would not be in Germany but off the Icelandic coast.

In each of the world wars and then in the Cold War, command of the Atlantic was critical, both to project forces to Europe and to block potential attacks on the American mainland. The fear was that a European power might defeat its enemies and take advantage of European technology and production to create a fleet that could challenge the U.S. in the Atlantic. It seems like a far-fetched threat now, but Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and every president who held office during the Cold War understood that the oceans were American essentials, even in a nuclear war.

The U.S. drew several conclusions from the two world wars. First, Europeans cannot be trusted to create a prudent defense – nor avoid devouring themselves. Second, it learned that in the end, Europe's irresponsibility would force the U.S. to become involved. Third, wars that appear to be short will turn out to be long. Fourth, the possibility of a threat to the Atlantic as a byproduct of continental war is real. Fifth, early intervention in wars will save American lives, while late interventions will cost them. And finally, in all wars there is a threat to the Atlantic and therefore to the homeland.

Once a European power becomes militarily aggressive, it is forced to become even more aggressive after a victory because the next danger is just over the mountain. Ultimately, the U.S. will be forced to be in Europe. Whether leaders see this I don’t know, but if they are acting only by habit in Ukraine, it flows from American grand strategy. Habit is a substitute for strategy when the rules don’t change.

DougMacG

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Re: George Friedman: America, War, and the Atlantic
« Reply #1256 on: August 06, 2022, 09:50:20 PM »
Among the lessons:

"early intervention in wars will save American lives, while late interventions will cost them"

Yes.  Intervene against evil earlier.

G M

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Re: George Friedman: America, War, and the Atlantic
« Reply #1257 on: August 06, 2022, 11:35:40 PM »
Among the lessons:

"early intervention in wars will save American lives, while late interventions will cost them"

Yes.  Intervene against evil earlier.

Like the illegitimate government in DC?

Crafty_Dog

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Kissinger in WSJ
« Reply #1258 on: August 16, 2022, 06:15:06 AM »
By Laura Secor
Aug. 12, 2022 1:27 pm ET


At 99 years old, Henry Kissinger has just published his 19th book, “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy.” It is an analysis of the vision and historical achievements of an idiosyncratic pantheon of post-World War II leaders: Konrad Adenauer, Charles DeGaulle, Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan-Yew and Margaret Thatcher.

In the 1950s, “before I was involved in politics,” Mr. Kissinger tells me in his midtown Manhattan office on a steamy day in July, “my plan was to write a book about the making of peace and the ending of peace in the 19th century, starting with the Congress of Vienna, and that turned into a book, and then I had about a third of a book written on Bismarck, and it was going to end with the outbreak of World War I.” The new book, he says, “is a kind of continuation. It’s not just a contemporary reflection.”

All six figures profiled in “Leadership,” says the former secretary of state and national security adviser, were shaped by what he calls the “second Thirty Years’ War,” the period from 1914 to 1945, and contributed to molding the world that followed it. And all combined, in Mr. Kissinger’s view, two archetypes of leadership: the farsighted pragmatism of the statesman and the visionary boldness of the prophet.

Asked if he knows of any contemporary leader who shares this combination of qualities, he says, “No. I would make the qualification that, though DeGaulle had this in him, this vision of himself, in the case of Nixon and probably Sadat, or even of Adenauer, you would not have known at an earlier stage. On the other hand, none of these people were essentially tactical people. They mastered the art of tactics, but they had a perception of purpose as they entered office.”

‘I think that the current period has a great trouble defining a direction. It’s very responsive to the emotion of the moment.’

One never goes long in conversation with Mr. Kissinger without hearing that word—purpose—the defining quality of the prophet, along with another, equilibrium, the guiding preoccupation of the statesman. Since the 1950s, when he was a Harvard scholar writing on nuclear strategy, Mr. Kissinger has understood diplomacy as a balancing act among great powers shadowed by the potential for nuclear catastrophe. The apocalyptic potential of modern weapons technology, in his view, makes sustaining an equilibrium of hostile powers, however uneasy it might be, an overriding imperative of international relations.

"In my thinking, equilibrium has two components,” he tells me. “A kind of balance of power, with an acceptance of the legitimacy of sometimes opposing values. Because if you believe that the final outcome of your effort has to be the imposition of your values, then I think equilibrium is not possible. So one level is a sort of absolute equilibrium.” The other level, he says, is “equilibrium of conduct, meaning there are limitations to the exercise of your own capabilities and power in relation to what is needed for the overall equilibrium.” Achieving this combination takes “an almost artistic skill,” he says. “It’s not very often that statesmen have aimed at it deliberately, because power had so many possibilities of being expanded without being disastrous that countries never felt that full obligation.”


Mr. Kissinger concedes that equilibrium, while essential, can’t be a value in itself. “There can be situations where coexistence is morally impossible,” he notes. “For example, with Hitler. With Hitler it was useless to discuss equilibrium—even though I have some sympathy for Chamberlain if he was thinking that he needed to gain time for a showdown that he thought would be inevitable anyway.”

There is a hint, in “Leadership,” of Mr. Kissinger’s hope that contemporary American statesmen might absorb the lessons of their predecessors. “I think that the current period has a great trouble defining a direction,” Mr. Kissinger says. “It’s very responsive to the emotion of the moment.” Americans resist separating the idea of diplomacy from that of “personal relationships with the adversary.” They tend to view negotiations, he tells me, in missionary rather than psychological terms, seeking to convert or condemn their interlocutors rather than to penetrate their thinking.

Mr. Kissinger sees today’s world as verging on a dangerous disequilibrium. “We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to,” he says. Could the U.S. manage the two adversaries by triangulating between them, as during the Nixon years? He offers no simple prescription. “You can’t just now say we’re going to split them off and turn them against each other. All you can do is not to accelerate the tensions and to create options, and for that you have to have some purpose.”


On the question of Taiwan, Mr. Kissinger worries that the U.S. and China are maneuvering toward a crisis, and he counsels steadiness on Washington’s part. “The policy that was carried out by both parties has produced and allowed the progress of Taiwan into an autonomous democratic entity and has preserved peace between China and the U.S. for 50 years,” he says. “One should be very careful, therefore, in measures that seem to change the basic structure.”

Mr. Kissinger courted controversy earlier this year by suggesting that incautious policies on the part of the U.S. and NATO may have touched off the crisis in Ukraine. He sees no choice but to take Vladimir Putin’s stated security concerns seriously and believes that it was a mistake for NATO to signal to Ukraine that it might eventually join the alliance: “I thought that Poland—all the traditional Western countries that have been part of Western history—were logical members of NATO,” he says. But Ukraine, in his view, is a collection of territories once appended to Russia, which Russians see as their own, even though “some Ukrainians” do not. Stability would be better served by its acting as a buffer between Russia and the West: “I was in favor of the full independence of Ukraine, but I thought its best role was something like Finland.”


He says, however, that the die has now been cast. After the way Russia has behaved in Ukraine, “now I consider, one way or the other, formally or not, Ukraine has to be treated in the aftermath of this as a member of NATO.” Still, he foresees a settlement that preserves Russia’s gains from its initial incursion in 2014, when it seized Crimea and portions of the Donbas region, though he does not have an answer to the question of how such a settlement would differ from the agreement that failed to stabilize the conflict 8 years ago.

The moral claim posed by Ukraine’s democracy and independence—since 2014, clear majorities have favored EU and NATO membership—and the dire fate of its people under Russian occupation fit awkwardly into Mr. Kissinger’s statecraft. If the avoidance of nuclear war is the greatest good, what is owed to small states whose only role in the global equilibrium is to be acted upon by larger ones?


“How to marry our military capacity to our strategic purposes,” Mr. Kissinger reflects, “and how to relate those to our moral purposes—it’s an unsolved problem.”

Looking back over his long and often controversial career, however, he is not given to self-criticism. Asked if he has regrets from his years in power, he replies, “From a manipulative point of view, I ought to learn a great answer to that question, because it’s always being asked.” But while he might revisit some minor tactical points, on the whole, he says, “I do not torture myself with things we might have done differently.”

Appeared in the August 13, 2022, print edition as 'Henry Kissinger'.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: US Foreign Policy & Geopolitics
« Reply #1259 on: August 16, 2022, 06:16:49 AM »
I would note the Kissinger has made a ton of money consulting for the Chinese.

I would note that it is CHINA that has changed regarding Taiwan, and that China blew off its written commitments to Hong Kong's separate way.

Crafty_Dog

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George Friedman: China and Russia's Strategic Problem
« Reply #1260 on: August 16, 2022, 06:33:02 AM »
Third

August 16, 2022
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China and Russia’s Strategic Problem
By: George Friedman

The war in Ukraine, now about 6 months old, is strategically important for a variety of reasons. If Russia defeats Ukraine and takes control of the country, its forces will be on the border of Eastern Europe. A Russian presence on Europe’s border would transform the balance of power in the Atlantic, and would thus inevitably compel the U.S. to deploy forces in Europe’s defense.

What Russia's intentions were at the outset of the invasion matters little. Intentions change, and strategy must not be optimistic. So what is at stake in the Ukrainian war is the possible resurrection of the Cold War, with all the attendant risks. From the American point of view, engaging Russia through Ukrainian troops in Ukraine is far less risky than another Cold War.

The Cold War did not result in a full-scale war, only the fear of war. Western fears of Soviet intentions outstripped Soviet capabilities. Their fear, in turn, kept NATO together, much to the chagrin of the leaders in Moscow. Neither of their worst fears came to pass, and therefore the collapse of the Soviet Union had more to do with internal rot than external threat. It is not clear that any future Cold War would play out like the last one, but one thing is likely: Given the existence of nuclear weapons, the front line of a new Cold War would remain static, and the status quo on each side would remain intact so long as neither side fragmented. It would be a costly and dangerous outcome, since history need not repeat itself. But the collapse of Ukraine would pose threats that could be contained, however expensively and dangerously. The global pattern would remain intact.

China’s vulnerabilities, and its attempts to overcome them, are potentially more dangerous. As with Russia, the core issue is geography. For Russia, the problem is that the Ukrainian border is less than 300 miles from Moscow, and Russia has survived multiple invasions only by virtue of Moscow’s distance from invaders – a distance that the collapse of the Soviet Union closed. Russia’s obsession with Ukraine is intended to rectify that problem. China's geographic problem is that it has become an exporting powerhouse, and as such it depends on its access to the Pacific Ocean and adjacent waters. The United States sees free Chinese access to the Pacific as a potential threat to its own strategic depth, something fundamental to the United States since the end of World War II. Chinese access to the Pacific is blocked by a series of island states – Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia, indirectly supported by nearby powers such as Australia, India and Vietnam. Not all of them are American allies, but all have common interests against Chinese naval expansion. China wants to defend its strategic depth by seizing and controlling it. The United States wants to defend its strategic depth by defending it.

The geographic dimension is compounded by an economic dimension. China’s economy depends on exports, and the United States is its largest customer. Beijing also needs continued U.S. investment, as its financial system is under intense pressure.

Russia is attempting to reclaim strategic depth, and it went into it knowing full well the financial consequences it would create. In other words, it put up with financial damage in exchange for strategic security. So far, it has not gained strategic security and has absorbed significant financial damage while meting out some of its own to Europe.

China is searching for a strategic solution while avoiding the economic damage that further expansion would likely invite. Its primary adversary on both fronts would be the United States. So China is probing the U.S., trying to understand its potential responses. The response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit pressed the limits of an invasion of Taiwan. What China learned about the U.S. military is unclear, but it learned that the trigger for American economic actions lies beyond the Chinese demonstration.

America’s goal in Ukraine, then, is to deny Russia the strategic depth it wants in order to limit the Russian threat to Europe. With China, its goal is to retain American strategic depth in order to prevent China from threatening the U.S. or obtaining global reach.

The issues are similar in principle, but the stakes for the United States are not. For Washington, the China question is much more important than the Russia question. A Russian victory in Ukraine would redraw unofficial boundaries and increase risks. A Chinese success would create a more global power that challenges the U.S. and its allies around the world.

The consequences of war are always significant. U.S. involvement adds economic costs to the equation. So far, Russia has absorbed the costs. China may not be able to, considering its economy is currently vulnerable. But nations live on economics and survive on safety. In that sense, it would appear that Russia is less interested in negotiations than China is.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden are scheduled to meet in mid-November, at a conference in Indonesia or in Thailand. If the meeting takes place, it will be the first since their teleconference in May. Only informal and back-channel talks are happening between the U.S. and Russia. China reeds a stable economy now more than it needs command of the seas. Russia seems able to survive what it has been dealt economically, but it has not broken the back of Ukrainian forces. China is nearer an economic crisis than Russia, and is thus unwilling to risk war with the United States. It will speak, if not settle. Russia’s economic and military situation is murky in the long run. The United States is dealing with China and Russia at a fairly low price and can handle both right now. Russia and China must try to raise the cost to the U.S. but can’t afford to raise their own.

It is a dizzying equation but not an uncommon one. China needs to reach an understanding with the United States. Russia does not have that need. The U.S. is flexible.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: US Foreign Policy & Geopolitics
« Reply #1261 on: August 16, 2022, 06:34:45 AM »
GF is a super smart guy, but in reading the preceding I am left with the sense that he has not engaged with the true underlying issue with China-- that it has taken advantage of America playing "win-win" and by going "zero-sum".

Crafty_Dog

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GPF: The Scalable War Ahead-- serious read
« Reply #1262 on: August 20, 2022, 03:17:28 PM »
August 17, 2022
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The Scalable World War Ahead
The world has become more complex but no less deadly.
By: Jacek Bartosiak

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan begins a new era of confrontation between the U.S. and China and marks a new stage in the ongoing conflict over Eurasia, this unique landmass where world history takes place and world wars are fought. What distinguishes this episode from previous world wars is that this one is scalable – the existence of thermonuclear weapons greatly raises the stakes of escalation and demands each side to be circumspect before escalating. In a scalable clash, each side tries to force its interests through various domains of contemporary dependencies in a densely globalized world – a world that will be violently split open before our eyes.

Pelosi’s visit accelerates the process of sharp and violent deglobalization – the breaking, for geopolitical reasons, of all financial, trade, information, communication and human connections that resulted from Pax Americana over the past 30 years. It turns out that the great powers do not agree on the principles that define how the world operates and how they cooperate with each other. China, the U.S. and Russia believe the existing global order no longer serves their interests. Only Europe still wants everything to stay the same, naively thinking that the “old” ways will come back. Completely unprepared for the return of geopolitics, Europe is on course to become the subject of the game of the three aforementioned powers – a place of struggle and kinetic wars and not a main actor, with ambitions and strategic initiative.

The Shape of the War to Come

Dangerous times lie ahead. Conflict will be a constant in many domains: trade, technology, finance, raw materials, currency markets, data and internet, and infrastructure. There will be kidnappings and assassinations, information warfare, fighting for oceans and lands, and fighting to control communication nodes, even in outer space. Finally, there will be hot proxy wars, coups, revolutions and government collapses, and probably a direct clash between China and the U.S. in the Western Pacific, or a war in Europe involving some NATO countries and Russia.

The main focus of this global conflict, however, will be the manipulation of strategic flows to influence the opponent’s stability and social contract. Examples include banning the sale to China of Taiwan's microprocessors necessary in a modern economy and, in response, China’s banning of exports of sand to Taiwan necessary for construction; or bans on capital investments in China and, in response, the expropriation of large U.S. companies with production in China.

In addition, there will be sanctions, blockades, embargoes on trade and raw materials, manipulation of energy transmission systems, attacks on infrastructure and military demonstrations intended to disrupt the enemy’s economy. A good example is the effective sea and air quarantine of Taiwan in the course of China’s sea-air exercises, or the unilateral ban on Russian flights over Lithuania or Poland, which may be broken one day if Moscow wants to contest Europe’s ability to limit where its planes fly.

Kinetic War

In this global struggle, a kinetic war between the U.S. and China in the Western Pacific becomes very likely, possibly sooner than later, given the irreconcilable structural differences of interest between the two powers. For a critical imbalance in the world system has already arisen that will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to correct in the foreseeable future without resorting to force, and such an escalation naturally leads to war. The situation around Taiwan in connection with Pelosi’s visit, and before that Russia’s ultimatum toward Ukraine, is clear proof of this.

Fortunately, the existence of thermonuclear weapons lowers the willingness of each side to enter into an uncontrolled conflict without reflection. It forces each side to be selective about what it seeks to obtain through the threat or use of violence, without stupidly starting a thermonuclear war. This makes the coming world war scalable, and this is what sets it apart from previous world wars.

At the start of the hot phase of past system wars, such as the Napoleonic wars or World War I or II, the attacking side immediately sent corps, fleets, infantry divisions, artillery, armored divisions and air assets, all that was necessary to defeat the enemy and conquer the capital by maneuvering to paralyze the decision-making and political system. For then there were no weapons that could destroy entire cities, states and nations. Strategic nuclear weapons obliterate the political goal of war, which is the loser’s submission to the victor’s will. (Tactical nuclear weapons may be a different matter, something we will learn to live with.) Above all, strategic thermonuclear weapons could trigger automatic retaliation.

None of this was present in previous world wars. There was no need to think about calibrated actions and the opponent’s potential responses on the multilevel escalation ladder, because both sides wanted immediately to take a dominant position in the application of violence. This was the way of the German Blitzkrieg, whose initial phenomenal operational efficiency diminished over time, leaving Hitler to look for a variety of Wunderwaffen (wonder weapons) at the end of the war.

This does not mean that nuclear weapons will not be used in the coming war. There are many indications, especially in Russian strategic and military literature, that it is possible to “disenchant” the use of nuclear weapons. However, even then the warring parties will always remember the risk of mutual annihilation, which hampers the decision-making process and emphasizes the management of the escalation ladder. This is already evident in Washington’s dealings with Ukraine and the Americans’ reservations about providing Kyiv with equipment that could be used to attack targets in Russia, which would be a step up the escalation ladder.

The existence of thermonuclear weapons, in other words, means the war must be scalable. Neither side can immediately reach (or threaten to reach) for the highest rung on the escalation ladder.

At the same time, the accumulation of mutual interactions between states is greater today than in the world wars of the past, meaning there are plenty of means of applying pressure. Likewise, there are more cases where violence can be used: destruction of transshipment terminals, attacks on U.S. natural gas terminals and Russian refineries, the kidnapping of decision-makers, destruction of satellites, acts of sabotage to cut off raw materials, and even terrorist attacks. Therefore, there will be more need to inoculate the state against manipulation of strategic flows, and less discussion of the number of soldiers compared with the 20th century. What matters is the military’s capabilities to wage modern war, often remotely, and the state’s resilience.

Europe in Denial

The scalable war has already begun. It is already changing the global system. As in the last world war, new methods and technologies will emerge. Innovation accelerates during war. This is the dark nature of man – militant and competitive. During World War II we saw the first German maneuvering and ballistic missiles. At the end, we saw the first primitive guided missiles, the jet engine, the technological miracle that was the American B-29 strategic bomber, and the Allied computer needed to constantly break the German Enigma. In this war, automation and robotics will certainly develop. Personally, I’m betting that artificial intelligence developed for war and human competition will change our civil lives beyond recognition before the war is over.

In all of this, Europe still refuses to accept that the war is already underway. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the uproar it caused, and the imminent U.S. congressional elections will lead the U.S. to focus on the Pacific. Therefore, I believe that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was a mistake, very unfavorable for Poland, because it accelerates the Americans’ perspective of a war on two fronts in Eurasia, which must always be avoided. And it pushes China into helping Russia on the European front, even if this aid is or will be hidden for some time, just as Roosevelt’s decision to help the British was hidden from world opinion, made after the fall of Paris in 1940, and therefore long before America’s open entry into the war.

For Central and Eastern Europe this means being left with Russia, largely alone, with the only outside protection coming from other Europeans who lack significant military capabilities or excessive determination to confront Russia, apart from Finland, Sweden and Britain. As the war for Eurasia will be scalable, the wider European conflict does not have to be the same as with Ukraine. It can involve terrorism, destruction of infrastructure, kidnappings and killings, and destabilization. However, there can also be a full war like in Ukraine, depending on the capabilities of the Russians and the geopolitical situation, as well as on Europe’s own capabilities, resilience and preparations. The Russians will adjust their strategy to this. Russia wants to gain agency in Europe, and it will do this by pushing the Americans out of Europe and weakening Europe’s cohesion as part of the trans-Atlantic world.

What is happening in the Pacific is therefore of paramount importance for Europe. The world system has become unstable. A new equilibrium will arise after the war that seems inevitable today. Somewhat comfortingly, it seems to be a scalable war. In Poland’s case, located at the junction of the World Ocean and the Continent, it can be anything, including terrorist attacks, manipulating the supply of raw materials (which may end in rationing and the destruction of the Polish economy and competitiveness), kidnappings, destroying infrastructure and even conventional war – even with the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

The world has become more complex but no less deadly.

Crafty_Dog

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General Keane agrees with me
« Reply #1263 on: August 22, 2022, 11:22:54 AM »

Crafty_Dog

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George Friedman: Counter POV to "The Scalable War Ahead"
« Reply #1264 on: August 23, 2022, 10:50:27 AM »


As always, GF is very bright and insightful, but I think the MY theory of things gets closer to what is coming down the pike at us:
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August 23, 2022
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The Permanence of War and Peace
By: George Friedman
Last week my friend and colleague, Jacek Bartosiak, wrote a piece for GPF titled “The Scalable World War Ahead,” in which he warned that the world is descending into the abyss of near-global war. The most important argument he made was that there was a new dynamic in the world in which wars will grow as a cancer, with cells dividing until the world is fully consumed.

I disagree with what I will call the theory of war as metastasis generally, and particularly in our time. Wars occur between nation-states, rising from the particular interests of each nation-state. In general, wars originate from fear or greed. A nation calculates that the threat from another nation is best met by preemptive action. This occurs in the particular circumstance in which a nation fears what another nation will become, and risks war on the assumption that going to war will prevent the rise of another nation. The fear could be of the not-yet-harnessed power of the opponent or the possibility of the power of an ally. War can also arise from greed, or the desire to acquire something of strategic value from another nation – in which case the calculation of power assigns a probability of success on the nation initiating the war.

The decision to go to war is initiated by one party that tends to want to avoid an expansion of the war, or will at least wait until the first war is settled before expanding the war and increasing the chance of failure. The defending country tends to seek allies, if the attacker’s calculation of relative power is correct. The cost of alliance is normally high, and the desire to intervene exists only under particular circumstances. Cascading wars are thus possible but not likely. In this sense, most wars are self-limiting.

In retrospect, World War II appears to be a cascading war, but it was so only in a limited sense. There were two separate wars, one in the Pacific and one in Europe. The former did not cascade. The participants at the beginning defined the war until its end. In Europe, the war was really two wars, both involving Germany. One was Germany against the Anglo-French alliance, the other against the Soviet alliance. Neither the Pacific nor the European war metastasized far beyond the core powers.

The Cold War pitted NATO against the Warsaw Pact, and it had a distinctly nuclear flavor. The Cold War in Europe never turned into war because nuclear weapons increased the potential cost of war enormously. The war did spread to parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, but these were non-critical conflicts for both sides.

One of the limiters of war involving major powers is the fact that most have nuclear weapons. A war between China and the United States would be possible only if one side were confident it could neutralize the other’s weapons. Absent that, the danger would be in winning the war. In extremis, where the nation’s fundamental interests were threatened by conventional forces, the nation might choose a nuclear option. The potential winner would have to assume that a nuclear response is possible, and would have to calculate whether the potential risks of victory would be worth the prize. Pre-nuclear limits on cascading wars would have a nuclear response added to the equation. Notably, the notion of tactical nuclear weapons creates the illusion of utility. The most widely available tactical nuclear weapons have a lethality of a large fraction of the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima. There are smaller ones, but they are either so small as to not justify their use relative to conventional weapons or sufficiently devastating to make a large city uninhabitable.

War is possible between nuclear powers when at least one is acting through proxies able to carry the battle. Vietnam is a classic example. North Vietnam and the United States clashed with each other, with China and the Soviet Union providing logistical support. The U.S. never seriously considered the use of nuclear weapons in the confrontation. Nor did Israel in 1973 when it was attacked by Egypt. The Cuban missile crisis never really came close to nuclear exchange, as the release of papers and tapes by both sides shows. In Ukraine, Russia has threatened a nuclear strike. However, as in Vietnam, one side is conducting direct warfare, while the other is acting by proxy. Nothing is significant enough on either side to risk a nuclear exchange.

The situation between China and the United States is similarly limited. Neither nation has any interest worth a nuclear exchange, and neither side is certain what the other might do if facing an extreme risk of defeat. We have seen endless maneuvering and rhetoric from both sides, but at the moment the uncertainties involved in risking a conventional war are intact. Neither side is confident enough in its position in initiating combat, and neither is certain whether nuclear weapons might be used if it were winning a conventional war. Being almost certain is not the basis for rising national annihilation.

From my point of view, we see in Ukraine a classic uncertainty on both sides as the war progresses. In the Western Pacific, we have had many years of saber-rattling but little action. China is in the throes of a financial crisis that cannot be solved by engaging its largest customer and major investor in war. The U.S. has no desire to change the status quo.

There are, my mind, too many obstacles to a cascading war. The closest to a cascading war we have seen was World War II, but even then the participants were fairly stable after the war started. In the Cold War, the center never destabilized, the smaller skirmishes elsewhere notwithstanding. Cascading wars may happen over decades and with intervening political agreements. There will always be wars, and some will be terrible. But there are too many breakers to allow for cascades

G M

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Re: George Friedman: Counter POV to "The Scalable War Ahead"
« Reply #1265 on: August 23, 2022, 10:59:16 AM »
GF also said Russia wouldn't go into Ukraine, right?




As always, GF is very bright and insightful, but I think the MY theory of things gets closer to what is coming down the pike at us:
==========================

August 23, 2022
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The Permanence of War and Peace
By: George Friedman
Last week my friend and colleague, Jacek Bartosiak, wrote a piece for GPF titled “The Scalable World War Ahead,” in which he warned that the world is descending into the abyss of near-global war. The most important argument he made was that there was a new dynamic in the world in which wars will grow as a cancer, with cells dividing until the world is fully consumed.

I disagree with what I will call the theory of war as metastasis generally, and particularly in our time. Wars occur between nation-states, rising from the particular interests of each nation-state. In general, wars originate from fear or greed. A nation calculates that the threat from another nation is best met by preemptive action. This occurs in the particular circumstance in which a nation fears what another nation will become, and risks war on the assumption that going to war will prevent the rise of another nation. The fear could be of the not-yet-harnessed power of the opponent or the possibility of the power of an ally. War can also arise from greed, or the desire to acquire something of strategic value from another nation – in which case the calculation of power assigns a probability of success on the nation initiating the war.

The decision to go to war is initiated by one party that tends to want to avoid an expansion of the war, or will at least wait until the first war is settled before expanding the war and increasing the chance of failure. The defending country tends to seek allies, if the attacker’s calculation of relative power is correct. The cost of alliance is normally high, and the desire to intervene exists only under particular circumstances. Cascading wars are thus possible but not likely. In this sense, most wars are self-limiting.

In retrospect, World War II appears to be a cascading war, but it was so only in a limited sense. There were two separate wars, one in the Pacific and one in Europe. The former did not cascade. The participants at the beginning defined the war until its end. In Europe, the war was really two wars, both involving Germany. One was Germany against the Anglo-French alliance, the other against the Soviet alliance. Neither the Pacific nor the European war metastasized far beyond the core powers.

The Cold War pitted NATO against the Warsaw Pact, and it had a distinctly nuclear flavor. The Cold War in Europe never turned into war because nuclear weapons increased the potential cost of war enormously. The war did spread to parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, but these were non-critical conflicts for both sides.

One of the limiters of war involving major powers is the fact that most have nuclear weapons. A war between China and the United States would be possible only if one side were confident it could neutralize the other’s weapons. Absent that, the danger would be in winning the war. In extremis, where the nation’s fundamental interests were threatened by conventional forces, the nation might choose a nuclear option. The potential winner would have to assume that a nuclear response is possible, and would have to calculate whether the potential risks of victory would be worth the prize. Pre-nuclear limits on cascading wars would have a nuclear response added to the equation. Notably, the notion of tactical nuclear weapons creates the illusion of utility. The most widely available tactical nuclear weapons have a lethality of a large fraction of the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima. There are smaller ones, but they are either so small as to not justify their use relative to conventional weapons or sufficiently devastating to make a large city uninhabitable.

War is possible between nuclear powers when at least one is acting through proxies able to carry the battle. Vietnam is a classic example. North Vietnam and the United States clashed with each other, with China and the Soviet Union providing logistical support. The U.S. never seriously considered the use of nuclear weapons in the confrontation. Nor did Israel in 1973 when it was attacked by Egypt. The Cuban missile crisis never really came close to nuclear exchange, as the release of papers and tapes by both sides shows. In Ukraine, Russia has threatened a nuclear strike. However, as in Vietnam, one side is conducting direct warfare, while the other is acting by proxy. Nothing is significant enough on either side to risk a nuclear exchange.

The situation between China and the United States is similarly limited. Neither nation has any interest worth a nuclear exchange, and neither side is certain what the other might do if facing an extreme risk of defeat. We have seen endless maneuvering and rhetoric from both sides, but at the moment the uncertainties involved in risking a conventional war are intact. Neither side is confident enough in its position in initiating combat, and neither is certain whether nuclear weapons might be used if it were winning a conventional war. Being almost certain is not the basis for rising national annihilation.

From my point of view, we see in Ukraine a classic uncertainty on both sides as the war progresses. In the Western Pacific, we have had many years of saber-rattling but little action. China is in the throes of a financial crisis that cannot be solved by engaging its largest customer and major investor in war. The U.S. has no desire to change the status quo.

There are, my mind, too many obstacles to a cascading war. The closest to a cascading war we have seen was World War II, but even then the participants were fairly stable after the war started. In the Cold War, the center never destabilized, the smaller skirmishes elsewhere notwithstanding. Cascading wars may happen over decades and with intervening political agreements. There will always be wars, and some will be terrible. But there are too many breakers to allow for cascades

Crafty_Dog

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Zoltan- serious read
« Reply #1266 on: August 25, 2022, 06:43:33 PM »
https://plus2.credit-suisse.com/shorturlpdf.html?v=5amR-YP34-V&t=-1e4y7st99l5d0a0be21hgr5ht

 Hat tip to YA

Forgive me the vanity, but I would note the not insignificant overlap with some of the points I have been making , , ,

Crafty_Dog

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Russia's underperforming military and ours
« Reply #1267 on: September 20, 2022, 12:01:15 PM »
Some of the snark here is well wide of the mark, but there is a lot that pithily presents important questions:

========================


SEPTEMBER 15, 2022
Russia’s Underperforming Military (and Our Own)
BY ANDREW BACEVICH


In Washington, wide agreement exists that the Russian army’s performance in the Kremlin’s ongoing Ukraine “special military operation” ranks somewhere between lousy and truly abysmal. The question is: Why? The answer in American policy circles, both civilian and military, appears all but self-evident. Vladimir Putin’s Russia has stubbornly insisted on ignoring the principles, practices, and methods identified as necessary for success in war and perfected in this century by the armed forces of the United States. Put simply, by refusing to do things the American way, the Russians are failing badly against a far weaker foe.

Granted, American analysts — especially the retired military officers who opine on national news shows — concede that other factors have contributed to Russia’s sorry predicament. Yes, heroic Ukrainian resistance, reminiscent of the Winter War of 1939-1940 when Finland tenaciously defended itself against the Soviet Union’s more powerful military, caught the Russians by surprise. Expectations that Ukrainians would stand by while the invaders swept across their country proved wildly misplaced. In addition, comprehensive economic sanctions imposed by the West in response to the invasion have complicated the Russian war effort. By no means least of all, the flood of modern weaponry provided by the United States and its allies — God bless the military-industrial-congressional complex — have appreciably enhanced Ukrainian fighting power.

Still, in the view of American military figures, all of those factors take a backseat to Russia’s manifest inability (or refusal) to grasp the basic prerequisites of modern warfare. The fact that Western observers possess a limited understanding of how that country’s military leadership functions makes it all the easier to render such definitive judgments. It’s like speculating about Donald Trump’s innermost convictions. Since nobody really knows, any forcefully expressed opinion acquires at least passing credibility.

The prevailing self-referential American explanation for Russian military ineptitude emphasizes at least four key points:

* First, the Russians don’t understand jointness, the military doctrine that provides for the seamless integration of ground, air, and maritime operations, not only on Planet Earth but in cyberspace and outer space;

* Second, Russia’s land forces haven’t adhered to the principles of combined arms warfare, first perfected by the Germans in World War II, that emphasizes the close tactical collaboration of tanks, infantry, and artillery;

* Third, Russia’s longstanding tradition of top-down leadership inhibits flexibility at the front, leaving junior officers and noncommissioned officers to relay orders from on high without demonstrating any capacity to, or instinct for, exercising initiative on their own;

* Finally, the Russians appear to lack even the most rudimentary understanding of battlefield logistics — the mechanisms that provide a steady and reliable supply of the fuel, food, munitions, medical support, and spare parts needed to sustain a campaign.

Implicit in this critique, voiced by self-proclaimed American experts, is the suggestion that, if the Russian army had paid more attention to how U.S. forces deal with such matters, they would have fared better in Ukraine. That they don’t — and perhaps can’t — comes as good news for Russia’s enemies, of course. By implication, Russian military ineptitude obliquely affirms the military mastery of the United States. We define the standard of excellence to which others can only aspire.

Reducing War to a Formula

All of which begs a larger question the national security establishment remains steadfastly oblivious to: If jointness, combined arms tactics, flexible leadership, and responsive logistics hold the keys to victory, why haven’t American forces — supposedly possessing such qualities in abundance — been able to win their own equivalents of the Ukraine War? After all, Russia has only been stuck in Ukraine for six months, while the U.S. was stuck in Afghanistan for 20 years and still has troops in Iraq almost two decades after its disastrous invasion of that country.

To rephrase the question: Why does explaining the Russian underperformance in Ukraine attract so much smug commentary here, while American military underperformance gets written off?

Perhaps written off is too harsh. After all, when the U.S. military fails to meet expectations, there are always some who will hasten to point the finger at civilian leaders for screwing up. Certainly, this was the case with the chaotic U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. Critics were quick to pin the blame on President Biden for that debacle, while the commanders who had presided over the war there for those 20 years escaped largely unscathed. Indeed, some of those former commanders like retired general and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus, aka “King David,” were eagerly sought after by the media as Kabul fell.

So, if the U.S. military performance since the Global War on Terror was launched more than two decades ago rates as, to put it politely, a disappointment — and that would be my view — it might be tempting to lay responsibility at the feet of the four presidents, eight secretaries of defense (including two former four-star generals), and the various deputy secretaries, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and ambassadors who designed and implemented American policy in those years. In essence, this becomes an argument for sustained generational incompetence.

There’s a flipside to that argument, however. It would tag the parade of generals who presided over the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (and lesser conflicts like those in Libya, Somalia, and Syria) as uniformly not up to the job — another argument for generational incompetence. Members of the once-dominant Petraeus fan club might cite him as a notable exception. Yet, with the passage of time, King David’s achievements as general-in-chief first in Baghdad and then in Kabul have lost much of their luster. The late “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf and General Tommy Franks, their own “victories” diminished by subsequent events, might sympathize.

Allow me to suggest another explanation, however, for the performance gap that afflicts the twenty-first-century U.S. military establishment. The real problem hasn’t been arrogant, ill-informed civilians or generals who lack the right stuff or suffer from bad luck. It’s the way Americans, especially those wielding influence in national security circles, including journalists, think tankers, lobbyists, corporate officials in the military-industrial complex, and members of Congress, have come to think of war as an attractive, affordable means of solving problems.

Military theorists have long emphasized that by its very nature, war is fluid, elusive, capricious, and permeated with chance and uncertainty. Practitioners tend to respond by suggesting that, though true, such descriptions are not helpful. They prefer to conceive of war as essentially knowable, predictable, and eminently useful — the Swiss Army knife of international politics.

Hence, the tendency, among both civilian and military officials in Washington, not to mention journalists and policy intellectuals, to reduce war to a phrase or formula (or better yet to a set of acronyms), so that the entire subject can be summarized in a slick 30-minute slide presentation. That urge to simplify — to boil things down to their essence — is anything but incidental. In Washington, the avoidance of complexity and ambiguity facilitates marketing (that is, shaking down Congress for money).

To cite one small example of this, consider a recent military document entitled

“Army Readiness and Modernization in 2022,” produced by propagandists at the Association of the United States Army, purports to describe where the U.S. Army is headed. It identifies “eight cross-functional teams” meant to focus on “six priorities.” If properly resourced and vigorously pursued, these teams and priorities will ensure, it claims, that “the army maintains all-domain overmatch against all adversaries in future fights.”

Set aside the uncomfortable fact that, when it counted last year in Kabul, American forces demonstrated anything but all-domain overmatch. Still, what the Army’s leadership aims to do between now and 2035 is create “a transformed multi-domain army” by fielding a plethora of new systems, described in a blizzard of acronyms: ERCA, PrSM, LRHW, OMVF, MPF, RCV, AMPV, FVL, FLRAA, FARA, BLADE, CROWS, MMHEL, and so on, more or less ad infinitum.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that the Army’s plan, or rather vision, for its future avoids the slightest mention of costs. Nor does it consider potential complications — adversaries equipped with nuclear weapons, for example — that might interfere with its aspirations to all-domain overmatch.

Yet the document deserves our attention as an exquisite example of Pentagon-think. It provides the Army’s preferred answer to a question of nearly existential importance — not “How can the Army help keep Americans safe?” but “How can the Army maintain, and ideally increase, its budget?”

Hidden inside that question is an implicit assumption that sustaining even the pretense of keeping Americans safe requires a military of global reach that maintains a massive global presence. Given the spectacular findings of the James Webb Telescope, perhaps galactic will one day replace global in the Pentagon’s lexicon. In the meantime, while maintaining perhaps 750 military bases on every continent except Antarctica, that military rejects out of hand the proposition that defending Americans where they live — that is, within the boundaries of the 50 states comprising the United States — can suffice to define its overarching purpose.

And here we arrive at the crux of the matter: militarized globalism, the Pentagon’s preferred paradigm for basic policy, has become increasingly unaffordable. With the passage of time, it’s also become beside the point. Americans simply don’t have the wallet to satisfy budgetary claims concocted in the Pentagon, especially those that ignore the most elemental concerns we face, including disease, drought, fire, floods, and sea-level rise, not to mention averting the potential collapse of our constitutional order. All-domain overmatch is of doubtful relevance to such threats.

To provide for the safety and well-being of our republic, we don’t need further enhancements to jointness, combined arms tactics, flexible leadership, and responsive logistics. Instead, we need an entirely different approach to national security.

Come Home, America, Before It’s Too Late

Given the precarious state of American democracy, aptly described by President Biden in his recent address in Philadelphia, our most pressing priority is repairing the damage to our domestic political fabric, not engaging in another round of “great power competition” dreamed up by fevered minds in Washington. Put simply, the Constitution is more important than the fate of Taiwan.

I apologize: I know that I have blasphemed. But the times suggest that we weigh the pros and cons of blasphemy. With serious people publicly warning about the possible approach of civil war and many of our far-too-well armed fellow citizens welcoming the prospect, perhaps the moment has come to reconsider the taken-for-granted premises that have sustained U.S. national security policy since the immediate aftermath of World War II.

More blasphemy! Did I just advocate a policy of isolationism?

Heaven forfend! What I would settle for instead is a modicum of modesty and prudence, along with a lively respect for (rather than infatuation with) war.

Here is the unacknowledged bind in which the Pentagon has placed itself — and the rest of us: by gearing up to fight (however ineffectively) anywhere against any foe in any kind of conflict, it finds itself prepared to fight nowhere in particular. Hence, the urge to extemporize on the fly, as has been the pattern in every conflict of ours since the Vietnam War. On occasion, things work out, as in the long-forgotten, essentially meaningless 1983 invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada. More often than not, however, they don’t, no matter how vigorously our generals and our troops apply the principles of jointness, combined arms, leadership, and logistics.

Americans spend a lot of time these days trying to figure out what makes Vladimir Putin tick. I don’t pretend to know, nor do I really much care. I would say this, however: Putin’s plunge into Ukraine confirms that he learned nothing from the folly of post-9/11 U.S. military policy.

Will we, in our turn, learn anything from Putin’s folly? Don’t count on it.

This column is distributed by TomDispatch.

 

Andrew Bacevich is the author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, which has just been published by Random House.