Posted by Jmm99
If so, what are the recommended options, or a recommended singular COA if there are not options, for democracies to pursue in situations where another nation-state is beset by an armed conflict with one or more violent non-state actors, or where a country (a de jure, but not a de facto, nation-state) is beset by an armed conflict between two or more violent non-state actors?
Off the cuff,
Rule 1 Don't Get Involved
: Don't get involved unless it is absolutely in our national interest to do so.
Rule 2 Pick the Winning Team
: make an assessment of who the winning actor will be and support that actor so we have influence after the conflict. If a State government is hopelessly corrupt and refuses to address the real issues that are driving the insurgency, then the last thing we need to do is side with that government. Instead quietly support the insurgency and then recognize the new government when they win. Think of all the lives that will be saved by not dragging the conflict on for years by keeping a lame duck government alive.
Rule 3 Limit Complexity
: Limit complexity to the extent possible, don't bring in a multiple-nation coalition just for IO purposes (instead carefully pick partners). Garner international support without asking for their troops who are generally not willing to fight. You simply added another guy with a vote at the decision table who has different objectives that will further restrict your freedom of movement (big change from how we do business now).
Rule 4 Keep the Host Nation in the Lead
: Assuming we're supporting a real nation state, not one in name only, then ensure we stay in a supporting role, except when it is necessary for our troops to suppress a threat militarily that the host nation doesn't have the capacity for, but then after we suppress, roll back immediately into a support role.
Rule 5 Conduct a Non-Bias Assessment
: Conduct a non-bias assessment to ensure we understand the context of the conflict so we can develop realistic objectives (vice feel good effects) and devise the appropriates ways and means to achieve them. Don't embrace COIN and nation building unless it is appropriate.
Rule 6 Don't Commit to Fluff
: national leadership carefully avoids making any fluff statements (we'll change country X into a budding democracy with a growing economy before we go home), and only make public statements about obtainable military objectives. Then maybe make comments something like we'll assist the host nation with development and reforming their government, but I want to be clear we'll only assist as long as they are making progress
, if they refuse our advice, we won't waste our assets there. It isn't our success or failure, but theirs.
Caveat, none of these rules will necessarily get you one step closer to winning, but they may leave you in a position with options.
In effect, what should the "Weinberger-Powell doctrine" be for the future
Great question, and one that has been ignored too long.