• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Grand Strategy for a Divided America

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
555
Points
1,060
Trump Shifting Authority Over Military Operations Back to Pentagon

By MICHAEL R. GORDONMARCH 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump is shifting more authority over military operations to the Pentagon, according to White House officials, reversing what his aides and some generals say was a tendency by the Obama White House to micromanage issues better left to military commanders.

The change is at the heart of a re-engineering of the National Security Council’s role under its new leader, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, and reflects Mr. Trump’s belief that the N.S.C. should focus less on military operations and tactics and more on strategic issues. A guiding precept for the president and his team is that the balance of power in the world has shifted against American interests, and that General McMaster should focus on developing foreign and economic policy options in concert with the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies to respond to that challenge.

The new approach to managing military operations was evident this month when a Marine artillery battery and a team of Army Rangers — some 400 troops in all — arrived in northern Syria. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed off on the deployments and notified the White House. But General McMaster neither convened a meeting at the White House to discuss whether to send the forces nor presented the Pentagon with questions about where, precisely, the troops would operate or what risks they might confront.

Though the streamlined decision-making has been welcomed by many in the military, it could raise questions about whether Mr. Trump, who has drawn heavily from current and former generals to fill key jobs in his administration, is exercising sufficient oversight.

“For President Trump, it is very early days, but he appears to be going back to a model of greater delegation of authority,” said Michèle A. Flournoy, who was the Pentagon’s top policy official under President Barack Obama and is the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based policy group.

“The benefit is that it allows the military campaign to go forward without undue pauses, interruptions or delays,” Ms. Flournoy added. “That enables it to create more momentum and to be more responsive to changes on the battlefield. But there is a risk if there is inadequate oversight and the president stops paying close attention. It can be detrimental, even dangerous, if a commander in chief does not feel ownership of the campaign or loses touch with how things are evolving on the ground.”

Funny position for an authoritarian - delegation of authority.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/19/us/trump-shifting-authority-over-military-operations-back-to-pentagon.html?_r=0

Also interesting is the sense that the NSC has other things to worry about other than just military operations.  Which is in line with having Steve Bannon on the NSC.  Bannon:Trump = Bracken:Churchill.  One of Bracken's star employees was a chap name of George Orwell.

One final thought.

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth over Trump's proposed cuts to Foreign Aid and International Development.  Is it reasonable to suggest that Coca Cola, McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut are more effective at selling America than any government programme?  And they create American jobs both at home and overseas.  High School kid as assistant shift supervisor becomes Head of Turkish operations.
 

a_majoor

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
30
Points
560
Chris Pook said:
Much wailing and gnashing of teeth over Trump's proposed cuts to Foreign Aid and International Development.  Is it reasonable to suggest that Coca Cola, McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut are more effective at selling America than any government programme?  And they create American jobs both at home and overseas.  High School kid as assistant shift supervisor becomes Head of Turkish operations.

For many progressives, the idea that Capitalism and the Free Market represent an effective means of "selling" America abroad is repugnant in the extreme. Only qualified and credentialed "experts" could possibly make the right choices and do the right things to project American values and power abroad. And look at the unbroken string of successes they have run up since.....um....

Sadly, the political and bureaucratic classes in America (and their academic and media allies) are far more interested in expressing solidarity with their political and bureaucratic counterparts abroad rather than representing the interests of the hundreds of millions of Americans for whom Coca-Cola, MacDonald's. KFC and Pizza Hut are familiar symbols of the neighbourhood and even valued employers. The divide isn't even really "Left/Right" as most people traditionally think of politics, but rather a horizontal line dividing "Patricians/Plebeians". And history tells us that that sort of division is much more prone to violent overturning than simple "Left/Right" models (look at the Social Wars in the Res Publica Roma for an early example).
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
555
Points
1,060
285px-Clan_member_crest_badge_-_Clan_Fleming.svg.png


The badge and motto of Clan Fleming - Belgian merchants that were invited to Scotland in the 1120's by King David that set up shop in Lanark which became a cradle of both the Covenanters and Presbyterians.

This article by James Carafano makes sense to me.  I don't know that Trump isn't an egotistical, dim-witted, scatter-brained, megalo-maniacal, mysoginistic, homophobic anti-semite.  I just figure that it is foolish to assume that anybody who has reached his age and his position, and who has not only not lost what he inherited but has enlarged upon it, is not capable.

The words and the tweets may mean nothing unless he wants them to mean something.  He may just be creating his own obscuring screen.  He may just be creating the opportunity for surprise.  An opportunity that would diminish over time as his deeds make him more predictable.

And there again, I may be wrong and he is a slobbering fool.  But I wouldn't bet on it.

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/trump-has-foreign-policy-strategy-20284

Trump Has a Foreign Policy Strategy

Yes, there is a method to Trump's foreign-policy "madness."
James Jay Carafano
April 20, 2017

For two weeks, the White House has unleashed a foreign-policy blitzkrieg, and Washington’s chattering classes are shocked and, if not awed, at least perplexed.
CNN calls Trump’s actions a “u-turn.” Bloomberg opts for the more mathematical “180 degree turn,” while the Washington Post goes with “flipflop.” Meanwhile, pundits switched from decrying the president as an isolationist to lambasting him as a tool of the neocons. Amid all the relabeling, explanations of an “emerging Trump Doctrine” have proliferated faster than North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

Here’s my take on what’s going on:
• Yes, there is a method to Trump’s “madness.”
• No, there has been no big change in Trump’s strategy.
The actions that flustered those who thought they had pigeon-holed Donald Trump simply reflect the impulses that have driven the direction of this presidency since before the convention in Cleveland.

At the Center of the Storm

Where is the head and heart of the president’s national-security team? Ask that question a year ago, and the answer would have been simple: General Mike Flynn, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Senator Jeff Sessions.

Today, Flynn is gone. Giuliani never went in. Sessions is still a crucial voice in the administration, but his duties as Attorney General deal only partially with foreign policy and national-security matters.
The new team centers round Jim Mattis at the Defense Department, Rex Tillerson at the State Department, John Kelly at the Department of Homeland Security and H. R. McMaster in the West Wing—ably assisted by Nikki Haley at the United Nations. Trump barely knew these people before the election.

There is little question that the new team’s character and competence affected the White House response to the recent string of high profile events and activities—from presidential meetings with Egypt and China and Tillerson’s tête-à-tête with Putin, to the ominous developments in Syria and North Korea. Though on the job for only about dozen weeks, the new administration handled a lot of action on multiple fronts quite deftly. Much of that can be credited to the maturity and experience of Trump’s senior national-security team.

But how the administration responded was purely Trumpian—reflecting an impulse that transcends the makeup of his foreign team or other White House advisors.

Decoding Trumpian Strategy

Since the early days of the campaign, one thing has been clear: trying stitch together an understanding of Trump’s foreign and defense policy based on Trump’s tweets and other off-hand comments is a fool’s errand. That has not changed since the Donald took over the Oval Office.

That is not to say that none of Trump’s rhetoric matters. He has given some serious speeches and commentary. But pundits err when they give every presidential utterance equal merit. A joint address to Congress ought to carry a lot more weight than a 3 a.m. tweet about the Terminator.

But especially with this presidency, one needs to focus on White House actions rather than words to gain a clearer understanding of where security and foreign policy is headed. Do that, and one sees emerging a foreign and defense policy more conventional and more consistent than what we got from Bush or Obama. Still, a deeper dive is necessary to get at the root of Trump’s take on the world and how it fits with recent actions like the tomahawk strikes in Syria and the armada steaming toward North Korea.

I briefed Candidate Trump and his policy advisors during the campaign. I organized workshops for the ambassadorial corps during the Cleveland Convention and worked with the presidential team through the inauguration. Those experiences let me observe how the policies from the future fledgling administration were unfolding. Here are some observations that might be helpful in understanding the Trumpian way.

At the core of Trump’s view of the world are his views on the global liberal order. Trump is no isolationist. He recognizes that America is a global power with global interests and that it can’t promote and protect those interests by sitting at home on its hands. Freedom of the commons, engaging and cooperating with like-minded nations, working to blunt problems “over there” before they get over here—these are things every modern president has pursued. Trump is no different.

What distinguishes Trump—and what marks a particularly sharp departure from Obama—is his perception of what enabled post–World War America and the rest of the free world to rise above the chaos of a half century of global depression and open war.

Obama and his ilk chalked it all up to international infrastructure—the UN, IMF, World Bank, EU, et al. For Trump, it was the sovereign states rather than the global bureaucracies that made things better. The international superstructure has to stand on a firm foundation—and the foundation is the sovereign state. Without strong, vibrant, free and wealthy states, the whole thing collapses like a Ponzi scheme.

More to follow....
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
555
Points
1,060
... See my last

Trump is an arch nationalist in the positive sense of the term. America will never be safe in the world if the world doesn’t have an America that is free, safe and prosperous.
That belief is at the heart of Trump’s policies designed to spark an economic revival, rollback the administrative state and rebuild the military. It lies at the core of his mantra: make America great again.

Even the strongest America, however, can’t be a global power without the willingness to act globally. And that's where Trump's declaration of “America First” comes in.

What it means for foreign policy is that the president will put the vital interests of the United States above the maintenance of global institutions. That is not an abandonment of universal values. Every American president deals with the challenge of protecting interests and promoting values. Trump will focus on American interests and American values, and that poses no threat to friends and allies. In many cases, we share the same values. In many cases, what's in America's vital interest is also in their interest—and best achieved through joint partnership.

Here is how those animating ideas are currently manifesting themselves in Trump's strategy:

A strategy includes ends (what you are trying to accomplish), means (the capabilities you will use to do that) and ways (how you are going to do it). The ends of Trump’s strategy are pretty clear. In both talk and action in the Trump world, it boils down to three parts of the world: Europe, Asia and the Middle East. That makes sense. Peace and stability in these regions are vital to U.S. interests and are under assault. The United States wants all three parts of the world to settle. It is unrealistic to think all the problems can be made to disappear, but it is not unrealistic to significantly reduce the potential for region-wide conflict.

The means are more than just a strong military. Trump believes in using all the instruments of power, hard and soft. He has unleashed Nikki Haley on the United Nations. He has ordered Rex Tillerson to revamp the State Department so that it is focused on the core tasks of statecraft and the effective and appropriate use of foreign assistance. He wants an intelligence community that delivers intelligence and doesn’t just cater to what the White House wants to hear. And he has ordered Homeland Security to shift from being politically correct to operationally effective. Further, it’s clear that Tillerson, Kelly, Mattis and Sessions are all trying to pull in the same direction.

The ways of the Trump strategy are not the engagement and enlargement of Clinton, the rearranging of the world by Bush, or the disengagement of Obama. The world is filled with intractable problems. Trump is less interested in trying to solve all of them in a New-York minute and more concerned about reducing those problems so that they give the United States and its friends and allies less and less trouble.

Trump is traveling a path between running away and invading. It might be called persistent presence. The United States plans to engage and use its influence in key parts of the world consistently over time to protect our interests. Done consistently, it will not only protect our interests; it will also expand the global safe space by causing bad influences to fade.

Recent activities in the Middle East are a good example. The bomb strike on Syria was not a prelude to regime change or nation-building in Syria. It was a warning shot to Assad to cut it out and stop interfering in U.S. efforts to finish off ISIS, stabilize refugee populations and keep Iraq from falling apart. Engagement with Egypt was to signal America is back working with partners to stabilize the region and counter the twin threats of Islamist extremism and Iran. Neither is a kick-ass-and-withdraw operation. These are signs of long, serious engagement, shrinking the space in which bad actors can operate.

The U.S. regional strategies for Europe and Asia are the same, and it seems clear that Chinese and Russian leaders have gotten the message. In the wake of recent meetings, both countries have reacted by treating Trump with the seriousness he has demanded. Others get it too. I’ve talked to many foreign officials who have come through Washington, DC this year and they have all told me that they got the same impression: this administration is about resolve and persistence.

Still, no strategy is without risks and pitfalls. This one is no different. Here is how Trump might screw up or be upended by a smarter or luckier enemy:

Pop goes political will. A strategy of persistent presence can work only if the United States persists. It took past presidents over a decade to screw things up. It is going to take at least eight years of reassuring friends and wearing down adversaries to fix it. Trump will have to get reelected.

Strength for the fight. Trump has to deliver guns and butter: a rebounding economy at home and a strong face abroad. That means a combination of growth and fiscally responsible federal spending—a challenge that eluded the last two presidents.

Mission creep. Presence can lapse into ambition, which can become overreach, or certainly taking on more than make sense to handle. There might always be temptation to deal with a North Korea, Syria or Iran once for all.

Blindsided. There are other parts of the world. An administration can't be indifferent to effective engagement in Latin America and Africa.

Distractions. Persistence is boring. There is always the temptation to follow the bright foreign-policy object.

Enemy gets a vote. The United States has to be strong in three theaters at the same time, so there will always be a temptation for its competitors to coordinate efforts or seize opportunities to give the United States multiple problems to solve, straining its capability to persist in each theater.

Black Swans. Competitors might get tired of the long war and risk throwing in a game changer. For example, rolling the dice on an Electromagnetic Pulse attack. Effective persistence requires a measure of paranoia. Competitors are never inanimate entities to be pushed around. They have agency, and they are always looking for a way to make a bad day for the other guy.

It remains to be seen if Trump can become a strategic leader capable of steering America past all these obstacles, but certainly he sees the path forward much more clearly than his domestic opponents are willing to recognize or acknowledge.

A Heritage Foundation vice president, James Jay Carafano directs the think tank’s research program for national security and foreign relations.

I keep hearing that Trump likes to win and how he must be aggravated at how he hasn't won all his battles.  He is coming up on 71.  I am fairly sure that he has lost a battle or two in his life.  He has also spent a lifetime with New York Paparazzi following his every move while he conducted his business.

I would bet that he long ago decided on how much he would allow the press to influence his activities.

The last thing that I would expect is that he would tell the press what his end game is.

 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
555
Points
1,060
One last bit of trivia that I came across:

On October 31, 1991, 79-year-old Mary Anne Trump (Donald Trump's Mother) was mugged and beaten near her home in Queens, New York. She sustained broken ribs, facial bruises, several fractures, a brain hemorrhage, and permanent damage to her sight and hearing.[5][6] A delivery truck driver named Lawrence Herbert apprehended her 16-year-old assailant, and Donald Trump rewarded Herbert with a check that kept him from losing his home to a foreclosure.[7][4]

She died 9 years later, one year after her husband.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Anne_MacLeod_Trump

1991 - 26 years ago, Trump at 45.

I wonder if that had any impact on the way he saw the world, the US and his role?

 

a_majoor

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
30
Points
560
Once again, this should be blindingly obvious to the chattering classes. President Trump has been a public figure for more than 30 years, and re reading "The Art of the Deal" was like watching the entire primary season and Presidential election campaign. His M.O. should be well known by now.

The fact the legacy media, chattering classes, professional politicians, bureaucrats and academics have not caught on should be concerning. While the President may be using social media tools for obfuscation, it seems to me that the real issue in the American left is a willful blindness to anything or anyone who does not fit into the "Narrative", and an inability to look outside the bubble to check their assumptions. The "Narrative" has collided with reality, and the resulting train wreak is horrifying to look at, but still compels us to slow down and look anyway.....The battlespace right now seems to be between the current establishment "Narrative" and the counter narratives of MAGA, the Alt-Right, Alt-Tech and others which may be more reflective of reality, or seem to have more predictive power for the user.

Obfuscation

Obfuscation is the willful obscuring of the intended meaning of communication, usually by making the message confusing, ambiguous, or difficult to understand. The obfuscation might be unintentional or intentional, and is accomplished with circumlocution, the use of jargon, and the use of an argot of little communicative value to outsiders.

 

a_majoor

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
30
Points
560
Henry Kissinger reflects on where we stand today, and the potential challenges we face tomorrow:

https://capx.co/chaos-and-order-in-a-changing-world/

Chaos and order in a changing world
By Dr Henry Kissinger

Lady Thatcher was one of the most significant leaders of our period. Decisive, effervescent, courageous, loyal, she was dedicated to shaping the future rather than following the recommendations of focus groups.

I first met her in the early 1970s, when she was serving as Minister of Education in the Cabinet of Edward Heath. At our first meeting, Mrs Thatcher conveyed her disdain for the then conventional wisdom that political contests were about winning the centre. For her, leadership was the task of moving the political centre towards defined principles rather than the other way around.

In implementing this philosophy, she generated over a long career a new political direction in her society. She did so by a combination of character and courage: character because the seminal choices demanded by the political process are usually taken in a very narrow passage; and courage to go forward on a road not travelled before.

Margaret Thatcher displayed these attributes articulately in the Findley address at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the site of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech 50 years earlier. She put forward challenges which, in their essence, are even more urgent today:

Should Russia be regarded as a potential threat or a partner?
Should NATO turn its attention to “out of area” issues?
Should NATO admit the new democracies of Central Europe with full responsibilities as quickly as prudently possible?
Should Europe develop its own “defense identity” in NATO?

Two decades after Lady Thatcher’s prescient address, the transatlantic world faces another set of issues of comparable nature. The world order the West created to end its Thirty Years’ War in 1648 was based on the notion of sovereignty of states secured by a balance of power between a multiplicity of entities. It now confronts concepts of order drawn from different historical and cultural experiences and involving visions of continental or universal religious dimensions. So the long-term issue becomes whether these issues are to be resolved by the maxims of the nation-state or new, more globalised concepts, and with what consequences for the future world order. Let me do so by adapting Lady Thatcher’s challenges to our circumstances.

Russia

The Russian challenge—Lady Thatcher’s first question—today focuses on Ukraine and Syria but reflects a deeper alienation. Stretching with eleven time zones from Europe along the borders of Islam to the Pacific, Russia has developed a distinct conception of world order. In its perennial quest for security along vast boundaries with few natural demarcations, Russia has evolved what amounts to a definition of absolute security, which verges on absolute insecurity for some of its neighbours.

At the same time, Russia’s geo-strategic scale, its almost mystic conception of greatness, and the willingness of its people to endure hardship have helped over the centuries to preserve the global equilibrium against imperial designs by Mongols, Swedes, French, and Germans. The result for Russia has been ambivalence—a desire to be accepted by Europe and to transcend it simultaneously. This special sense of identity helps explain President Putin’s statement that, “The demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”

Putin’s view of international politics is often described as a recurrence of 1930s European nationalist authoritarianism. More accurately, it is the heritage of the worldview identified with the novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, as exemplified in his 1880 speech at the dedication of a monument to the poet Pushkin. Its passionate call for a new spirit of Russian greatness based on the spiritual qualities of the Russian character was taken up in the late 20th century by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Abandoning his exile in Vermont to return to Russia, Solzhenitsyn, in his book On the Russian Question, called for action to save the Russian people who had been “driven out” of Russia. In the same spirit, Putin has railed against what he has interpreted as a 300-year-old Western effort to contain Russia. In 2007 in a Dostoevskyan-like outburst at the Munich Security Conference, he accused the West of having unjustly exploited the troubles of post-Cold War Russia to isolate and condemn it.

How should the West develop relations with Russia, a country that is a vital element of European security but which, for reasons of history and geography, has a fundamentally different view of what constitutes a mutually satisfactory arrangement in areas adjacent to Russia. Is the wisest course to pressure Russia, and if necessary to punish it, until it accepts Western views of its internal and global order? Or is scope left for a political process that overcomes, or at least mitigates, the mutual alienation in pursuit of an agreed concept of world order?

Is the Russian border to be treated as a permanent zone of confrontation, or can it be shaped into a zone of potential cooperation, and what are the criteria for such a process? These are the questions of European order that need systematic consideration. Either concept requires a defense capability which removes temptation for Russian military pressure.

China

Lady Thatcher’s query regarding out of area issues concerns in our day primarily China and the Middle East. China has launched its “Belt and Road Initiative” as a grand design with political, economic, cultural, and security implications from the East China Sea to the English Channel. It evokes memories of a lecture to the Royal Geographic Society in 1904 by Sir Halford Mackinder, who described the Eurasian Heartland as the geo-strategic pivot of the globe.

By seeking to connect China to Central Asia and eventually to Europe, the new Silk Road will in effect shift the world’s centre of gravity from the Atlantic to the Eurasian landmass. The road traverses an immense diversity of human cultures, nations, beliefs, institutions, and sovereign states. On it lie other great cultures—Russia, India, Iran, and Turkey—and at its extremity the nations of Western Europe, each of whom will have to decide if they will join it, cooperate with it, or oppose it, and in what forms. The complexities for international politics are as staggering as they are compelling.

The “Belt and Road Initiative” is being put forward in an international strategic environment that has been Westphalian, defined by the West’s philosophy of order. But China is unique, transcending the dimension of the Westphalian state: it is at once an ancient civilisation, a state, an empire, and a globalised economy. Inevitably, China will seek adaptation of international order compatible with its historical experience, growing power, and strategic vision.

This evolution will mark the third transformation of China in the last half-century. Mao’s brought unity, Deng’s brought reform, and now, President Xi Jinping is seeking to fulfil what he calls “the Chinese dream”, going back to the late Qing reformers, by realising “the two 100s”. When the People’s Republic of China enters its second hundred years in 2049, it will in Xi’s definition be as powerful as, if not more powerful than, any other society in the world and have the per capita GDP of fully developed countries.

In the process, the United States and China will become the world’s two most consequential countries both economically and geopolitically, obliged to undertake unprecedented adaptations in their traditional thinking. Not since it became a global power after World War II has the United States had to contend with a geopolitical equal. And never in China’s millennia-long history has it conceived of a foreign nation as more than a tributary to it, the Central or “Middle” Kingdom.

Both countries think of themselves as exceptional, albeit in fundamentally different ways: America sees spreading its values and system to other countries as part of its mission; China historically acted on the premise that the majesty of its performance would motivate other countries into a hierarchy based on respect.

In both countries, there exists many opinions about how to reconcile these differences of perspective —whether by the maxims of the nation-state or by new, more globalised concepts, some of which President Xi’s “Chinese dream” exemplify. For both societies — and the rest of the world — their co-evolution is a defining experience of the period.

What will the role of Europe be in such a world? As part of the Atlantic world or as an entity redefining itself and autonomously adjusting to the fluctuations surrounding it? As a component of a transatlantic arrangement? Or as a differential entity whose elements participate in a historic balance of power model? What kind of world order will depend on how transatlantic and “Road and Belt Initiative” concepts are synchronised?

The Middle East

In Eurasia and along Russia’s borders, world order is challenged by the consequences of consolidation. Around the periphery of the Middle East, it is threatened by the turmoil of dissolution. The Westphalian-based system of order that emerged in the Middle East at the end of the First World War is now in a shambles. Four states in the region have ceased to function as sovereign. Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen have become battlegrounds for factions seeking to impose their rule.

Across large areas of Iraq and Syria, an ideologically radical religious army, Isis, has declared itself a relentless foe of modern civilisation, seeking violently to replace the international system’s multiplicity of states with a single Islamic empire governed by Sharia law. In these circumstances, the traditional adage that the enemy of your enemy can be regarded as your friend no longer applies. In the contemporary Middle East, the enemy of your enemy may also be your enemy. The Middle East affects the world by the volatility of its ideologies as much as by its specific actions.

The outside world’s war with Isis can serve as an illustration. Most non-Isis powers—including Shia Iran and the leading Sunni states—agree on the need to destroy it. But which entity is supposed to inherit its territory? A coalition of Sunnis? Or a sphere of influence dominated by Iran? The answer is elusive because Russia and the Nato countries support opposing factions. If the Isis territory is occupied by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Shia forces trained and directed by it, the result could be a territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut, which could mark the emergence of an Iranian radical empire.

The Western calculus has been complicated by the emerging transformation of Turkey, once a key moderating influence, from a secular state into an ideologically Islamic version. At once affecting Europe by its control over the flow of migrants from the Middle East and frustrating Washington by the movement of oil and other goods across its southern border, Turkey’s support of the Sunni cause occurs side by side with its efforts to weaken the autonomy of the Kurds, the majority of whose factions the West has supported heretofore.

The new role of Russia will affect the kind of order that will emerge. Is its goal to assist in the defeat of ISIS and the prevention of comparable entities? Or is it driven by nostalgia for historic quests for strategic domination? If the former, a cooperative policy of the West with Russia could be constructive. If the latter, a recurrence of Cold War patterns is likely. Russia’s attitude towards the control of current Isis territory, sketched above, will be a key test.

The same choice faces the West. It must decide what outcome is compatible with an emerging world order and how it defines it. It cannot commit to a choice based on religious groupings in the abstract since they are themselves divided. Its support must aim for stability and against whatever grouping most threatens stability. And the calculation should include the long term and not be driven by the tactics of the moment.

If the West stays engaged without a geo-strategic plan, chaos will grow. If it withdraws in concept or in fact—as has been the temptation over the past decade—great powers like China and India, which cannot afford chaos along their borders or turmoil within them, will gradually step into the West’s place together with Russia. The pattern of world politics of recent centuries will be overthrown.

These trends involve two implications for the Atlantic Alliance. Insofar as the upheavals on the continents threaten the balance of power, they represent a threat to security. But they also challenge the West to contribute to the building of a new world order. Article V of the Nato Charter defines what must be preserved; it cannot be the end product of Atlantic policy.

NATO was formed in 1949 to protect its members against direct assault by the Soviet Union. It has evolved since into a network of nations combining in various dimensions to react to internationally destabilising situations. But Nato has been more precise in its original objective than in its evolution; it is clearer about its defensive commitments than its role in contributing to world order.

Conceived as a deterrent to a threatening Soviet Union in the process of increasing its arsenal of nuclear weapons to supplement its numerically superior land forces, Nato has been both a legal obligation and an expression of the joint determination of the free nations of the West to enhance their values.

A tradition of American leadership resulted because the American nuclear arsenal has been the ultimate counterweight to Soviet military power. As the decades went by, the Alliance turned increasingly into a unilateral American guarantee rather than an agreed strategic concept relevant to the evolving world.

Lady Thatcher’s concept of the Atlantic Alliance was very different from current realities. She described it as in essence comprised of “America as the dominant power surrounded by allies which generally follow her lead”. This is no longer fully the case. The United States is not leading in the Thatcher mode, and the mindset of too many Europeans is to explore alternatives.

The realities of population, resources, technology, and capital assure a decisive global role for an involved America and a militarily engaged Europe. It will not, however, come about without an agreed strategic and political concept

In today’s rapidly changing world, Nato must engage in a permanent reexamination of its goals and capabilities. The shift in the structures that comprise the contemporary world order should impel Nato and its members to ask themselves: What changes other than the control of the territory of its members will it seek to prevent, and by what means? What are the political goals, and what means is it prepared to assemble?

So let me conclude by repeating the challenge Margaret Thatcher laid down in the Findley Lecture two decades ago:

“What is to be done? I believe that what is now required is a new and imaginative Atlantic initiative. Its purpose must be to redefine Atlanticism in the light of the challenges I have been describing. There are rare moments when history is open and its course changed by means such as these. We may be at just such a moment now.”

Lady Thatcher’s quote reflected, above all, an exhortation and the definition of a task. We are at an even more fraught juncture today.

This is an expanded version of remarks delivered by Dr Kissinger to the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Security, 2017 in June, as prepared for delivery
 

a_majoor

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
30
Points
560
The perils of underfunding or overstretching you forces. While America does have allies to do some of the heavy lifting, how much additional horsepower do we realistically add to the equation? Japan and the ROK certainly add some value (particularly in the Western Pacific), but how about the EU in the Baltic States or the Middle East? How much value added do the Sunni Kingdoms and Israel add? These are very important long term questions, and lead back to President Trumps often expressed opinions that nations need to pick up after themselves and be prepared to do more about defense and security.

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/11/us-navy-is-overworked-so-russia-and-china-ramped-up-activity-to-exploit-the-weakness.html#more-139561

US Navy, Air Force are overworked so Russia and China ramped up activity to exploit the weakness
brian wang | November 26, 2017 |

The US Navy was taking risks by scaling back crew size and piling work onto remaining sailors, who sometimes work more than 100 hours a week while deployed.

The US Navy has been flexing its muscle through frequent exercises like those conducted near Korea. The US must address the fleet’s “diminishing surge capacity” as a potential conflict will likely require a response by more than three carriers to carry out the operations plan. To ensure its carrier strike groups are able to respond to an emerging conflict, the US must launch a course to “rebuild the Navy.

The US Pacific fleet is the world’s largest, with approximately 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft, and more than 130,000 sailors and civilians. However, this is not enough for the level of operational activity.

The 7th Fleet’s area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India-Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to Antarctica in the south.

The US Navy Pacific fleet has to
* monitor and react to North Korea
* perform joint operations with India, Japan, South Korea and other allies
* respond to China in the South China Sea

In 2017, Russian naval activity in Europe exceeded levels seen during the Cold War.

US Air Force has pilot shortage

In 2017, Sen. John McCain called the US Air Force pilot shortage a “full-blown crisis” that could eventually “call into question the Air Force’s ability to accomplish its mission.” And this week, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson revealed the deficit climbed to 2,000 pilots, as current operations “are stretching the force to the limit, and we need to start turning the corner on readiness.”

Last month, to fight the shortage, President Trump signed an executive order allowing the Air Force to voluntarily recall up to 1,000 retired pilots to active duty for up to three years. It was an addendum of the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty (VRRAD) program, instituted by the service in July and originally limited to 25 active-duty staff positions. Pilots have not instantly shown up. In fact, only three retirees signed up.

Training gets sacrificed

Overworking crews mean longer deployments of US ships. US ships based in Japan — as both the Fitzgerald and McCain had been at the time of their collisions — result in key training requirements being neglected due to the demands of operational duties, something the report describes as a “problem.”

Without training time, “perishable skills atrophy,” said Carl Schuster, a Hawaii Pacific University professor who spent 10 years “driving” US warships.

“Military commands are like a football team, you constantly have to practice,” added Schuster.

Many overworked crews do not sign up for another tour of duty

Overworked sailors often do not continue their naval career. They do not sign up for another tour of duty. This makes the training problem worse as experienced people quit.

19 year maintenance backlog

A September report from the Government Accountability Office found that the Navy’s shipyard facilities and equipment in poor condition with a backlog of restoration and maintenance that will take at least 19 years to clear.

China and Russia are using the overworked issue against the US

China has recognized the problem the US Navy is having. It is easier for China’s navy to do more in its local waters than it is for the US to cover that activity. China can then make the US Navy work even harder by increasing the pace of its local naval activity.

Russia also has increased air force and navy activity in Europe and around the world.
 

a_majoor

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
30
Points
560
President Trump outlines his Grand Strategy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj4zJiWX70o
 

Rifleman62

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
29
Points
530
IMHO these extracts are the exact opposite of the Trudeau government position.

Extracts: 1. "They (our leaders) undercut and shortchanged our men and women in uniform with inadequate resources, unstable funding, and unclear missions. They failed to insist that our often very wealthy allies pay their fair share for defence, putting a massive and unfair burden on the US taxpayer and our great US military".

              2. "We are once again investing in our defence - almost $700B, a record, this coming year. We are demanding extraordinary strength, which will hopefully lead to long and extraordinary peace. We are giving our courageous military men and women the support they need and so dearly deserve".

              3. "A nation that is not prepared to win a war is a nation not capable of preventing a war".

              4. "The third pillar of our strategy is to preserve peace through strength. We recognize that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unrivalled power is the most certain means of defence. For this reason, our strategy breaks from the damaging defence sequester. We're going to get rid of that". 

"It calls for a total modernization of our military, and reversing previous decisions to shrink our armed forces - even as threats to national security grew. It calls for streamlining acquisition, eliminating bloated bureaucracy, and massively building up our military, which has the fundamental side benefit of creating millions and millions of jobs".
 

QV

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
228
Points
680
But “Canada’s back!”

Some say the US’s influence in the world is dropping.... I suggest it is Canada’s.

 

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
237
Points
680
Rifleman62 said:
IMHO these extracts are the exact opposite of the Trudeau government position.

              3. "A nation that is not prepared to win a war is a nation not capable of preventing a war".
           


Hmmmmmmm! Where have I seen this before???

Oh yes! That's been around for about 1600 years: Flavus Vegetius Renatus' famous quote from his De re Militari:

"Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum" (Therefore, whoever desires peace, let them prepare for war)

which of course has been bastardized through the years into the adage: Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Such depth of knowledge in that president.  ;D
 

MarkOttawa

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
58
Points
560
Someone tweeted about this piece: 

Just needs a Thucydides reference for good measure
https://twitter.com/joshjonsmith/status/980641684559085568

The start:

Strategies of Attainment
C. Lee Shea
April 1, 2018

In this era of disruption, the accelerating pace of change is propelling the world towards a historic inflection point. The liberal international order is in crisis, as geopolitics has returned with a vengeance. Not since the end of the Cold War have we faced a more complex and daunting set of foreign policy challenges — including the resurgence of great power competition with Russia and China, a 30 Years War engulfing the Middle East, the rise of populist movements across the West, the persistence of the terrorist threat, and the economic and social challenges created by inequality and the uncertain future of globalization.

Alarmingly, the United States today fundamentally lacks a comprehensive strategy to deal with the transformative forces surging across the globe. The approach taken across multiple administrations has been largely tactical and reactive, and focused on the urgent rather than the important. Simply put, our leaders can’t see the forest for the trees. What is needed is a new, whole of government approach that bridges our partisan political divide and responds to the challenges of the moment. To do this, however, it is vital for America to draw from its own best traditions and rediscover the lost art of statecraft.

Such an approach must begin with a critical appraisal both of today’s global environment and the American response to it. Though the strategic imperative could scarcely be more pressing, too often the tyranny of the inbox crowds out the mindshare necessary for truly innovative thinking. Policymakers must change course. As a first step, we can begin by stepping back and asking ourselves: What problem are we trying to solve?

The Middle East is a case in point. Still absorbing the reverberations from the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, the arbitrary Sykes-Picot borders are proving untenable in numerous corners of the region. While the full significance of the upheaval now taking place will take decades to be understood, some things are apparent. For starters, American leaders need to recognize that our power to dictate the internal evolution of foreign societies is limited. The truth is that democracy is about more than elections, and liberal institutions do not emerge overnight. At the same time, history teaches us that American inaction can have consequences that are as grave as U.S. action. In the meantime, the lack of a comprehensive strategy for the broader region that links means to ends is apparent from the deserts of Libya to the mountains of Afghanistan. While there is no military solution to the conflicts roiling this region and we must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past, it is past time for Washington to redouble our efforts to stabilize the Middle East. This, in turn, requires that we set priorities. All too often in this part of the world, it seems, we are playing checkers while our adversaries are playing chess.

The same is true for Russia...

C. Lee Shea served in senior strategic planning roles at the State Department, National Security Council and Pentagon, and is president of the Center for Advanced Strategic Policy Initiatives.
https://warontherocks.com/2018/04/strategies-of-attainment/

;)

Mark
Ottawa
 

Journeyman

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Reaction score
440
Points
910
MarkOttawa said:
Strategies of Attainment
C. Lee Shea

I would have provided the article's conclusion with the portion that you quoted.  After highlighting the requirements -- a steady hand... visionary... bipartisan... strategic -- sorely needed today, concluding "that is why there is simply no substitute for American leadership."

Well, not only has American leadership been withdrawn, it has gone past mere inaction to demonstrating actively failing strategic leadership. The 'shining city on a hill' is globally shunned, mocked, ignored... while appealing only to "the base" -- a fitting but sadly ironic term.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
237
Points
680
MarkOttawa said:
Someone tweeted about this piece: 

The start:

;)

Mark
Ottawa

Read the article - twice because it is pure bumf. It's been a long time since I have seen so many clichés and buzzwords wrapped together into an load of incomprehensible drivel using pseudo-intellectual prose.    Then I noticed the date of the article and couldn't help but wonder ....  ;)

BTW, for those who would like the short version, in plain language, the whole article can be resumed as follows: "We are screwing up international relations. We have to put our house in order, do our homework and do better."
 

a_majoor

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
30
Points
560
More and more American millennials have expressed open admiration and desire to embrace Socialism (despite the very clear examples of the results of Socialism in Fascist Italy, National Socialist Germany, Communist Russia, Maoist China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Venezuela....). Here is what they can look forward to:

https://nypost.com/2018/04/11/science-proves-communism-makes-nations-poorer-and-less-healthy/?utm_source=facebook_sitebuttons&utm_medium=site%20buttons&utm_campaign=site%20buttons

Science proves communism makes nations poorer and less healthy
By Alain Tolhurst, The Sun April 11, 2018 | 11:54am | Updated

Living under communism makes countries poorer and less healthy for decades, according to a landmark new study.

Researchers testing historical connections between cultures found that whether a country had been under communism was the biggest factor for those with lower health, income and educational levels.

In the first undertaking of its kind, they analyzed the fortunes of 44 countries across Europe and Asia and looked at geography, religion, systems of government and a more intangible quality called “deep cultural ancestry.”

Writing in the journal Royal Society Open Science, they matched these factors against where they ranked on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures per-capita income, life expectancy at birth and the number of years its citizens spend in education.

Most of the issues they looked at appeared to have little or no effect on the disparities between the countries, except for Islamic countries scoring a little worse on education.

Instead, the single strongest predictor for a country’s health, and the second-strongest for its wealth, turned out to be whether its rulers had embraced communism.

The study said that after World War II, economic growth in Communist Eastern Europe was slower than in the West, but despite the Soviet Union’s collapse almost 30 years ago, the effects are still being felt.


The study says that communism was also behind the stagnation of life expectancy behind the Iron Curtain during the 1970s and 1980s, which has set those countries back even today.

The researchers say: “The proximate causes for this low life expectancy are complex, but high alcohol consumption, smoking and poor workplace safety, as well as low-quality diet and living conditions associated with lower income levels are implicated.”

Instapundit notes that the true cause of the damage is the destruction of social capital and trust:

Communism destroys social trust — communist governments do this by design — and that does longterm damage.

While not stating Communism is the cause, Francis Fukuyama's book "Trust" also examines the differences between "high trust" and "low trust" societies.

If America is to survive as a country, much less a world leader, then the erosion of social capital needs to be reversed and the sorts of values which lead to a high trust society need to be championed again (Interestingly enough, Samuel Huntington's last book "Who Are We?" deals with that very subject)
 

AbdullahD

Sr. Member
Subscriber
Reaction score
1
Points
180
A youtuber I follow (right winger if that matters), had a discussion about the issue found in this interview... basically how if you do not agree with everything someone believes they must be a "right winger" or a "leftist" or what have you. Instead of realizing you can lean in similar directions on most subjects and still disagree..

Basically the fact we are not realizing the world is not black and white in public or private dialogue. Something I at times am guilty of too.

Neat interview. Ben has made some good arguments on some subjects in the past, but in this interview he does not look very well.

https://youtu.be/e82PJiY8RIY

Very interesting due to the following he has etc.
Abdullah
 

mariomike

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
332
Points
1,130
AbdullahD said:
Instead of realizing you can lean in similar directions on most subjects and still disagree..

They certainly lean in different directions in terms of race, age and religion.

In their Midterm election six months ago,

9% of Blacks voted Republican

29% of Hispanics voted Republican

23% of Asians voted Republican

Age,

32% of ages 18-29 voted Republican

and Religion,

17% of Jewish voters voted Republican

while 75% of white born again / evangelical Christians voted Republican.
 

Journeyman

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Reaction score
440
Points
910
Well, if JFK said anything to worth considering ....

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future."
(Loyola College Alumni Banquet, Baltimore, Maryland, 18 February, 1958)

Of course, he also said "... we must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent or omniscient - that we are only six percent of the world's population - that we cannot impose our will upon the other ninety-four percent of mankind - that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity"... so what did he know.
(Address in Seattle at the University of Washington's 100th Anniversary Program (473)," November 16, 1961)

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
 

tomahawk6

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
61
Points
530
"It is better to be alone than in bad company.” ― George Washington.

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
― George Washington
 
Top