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Old 07-17-2017   #24
Bill Moore
Council Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,011
Default Old wisdom increasing effete

After reading Octavian's interview of the author who wrote, The Case for a Grand Strategy of Responsible Competition to Defend the Liberal International Order, on the SWJ Journal at the link above it invoked more thoughts on the relevance of assumed truths when it comes to strategy thought. The argument that follows is based on the assumption that a rules based international order is essential for maintaining an acceptable level of security and opportunity for continued prosperity for most of the developed world.

If the above assumption is valid, then it calls into question the wisdom of the adage of, he who defends everything, defends nothing. This is certainly true for the military at the tactical and operational levels; however, at the strategic level a violation of international law anywhere is a threat to the international order everywhere. Failure to defend the international order in the so called areas of peripheral importance creates an environment for revisionists and anarchists create a norm where it is acceptable for a growing number of actors to challenge the order without paying a price for their transgressions. Furthermore, in an increasingly interconnected, hype globalized world local threats are increasingly transnational and often transregional.

Challenges to the international order do not include every internal issue between a populace and its governance, but it does include state aggression upon another state that fails to meet the generally accepted reasons to wage war. It does include significant transnational crime, such as cyber crime, human and other illicit trafficking, China's production of counterfeit medication to sell to developing countries, terrorism, illicit/illegal expansion of one's territory, major environmental crimes (such as China's overfishing of areas well outside of China's EZZ, crimes against humanity such as genocide, etc. Failure to ignore these and allow them to fester and expand creates a world where a rules based international order exists in name only.

This does not imply that the U.S. military needs to respond to every violation, that is simply not sustainable, but it does beckon back to a recent past prior to the attacks on 9/11 where the U.S. did a respectful job of helping others help themselves, and supporting coalitions of the willing to address threats to instability and the rules based international order. Whether we were left of bang, or at the early stages of bang, these actions helped shape the world overall in a positive direction. It is past time to determine how we can return to an acceptable balance of effort, an effort that recognizes the U.S. military has important roles outside of the Middle East that have been neglected too long. That neglect has empowered actors intent on reshaping the world order in a way that will only benefit regional hegemons, which in turn will lead much greater instability, as nations will resist falling under their sway.
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