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Thread: "Occupation by Policy" - How Victors Inadvertantly Provoke Resistance Insurgency

  1. #21
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default As Gomer Pyle Would Say.......

    Thank you...Thank you....Thank you. I have said many times that there is No difference between Communism and Radical Islamism as far as a methodology for conducting Special Warfare. They are the same... but we cannot or we will not see that...so we get beat up alot!


    PS. I Highlighted certain critical parts of Outlaw 09 comments below.



    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post

    We have had our internal politics so colored by the Cold War "fight" against Communism that we forgot and or cannot now discuss in a honest fashion just what the role of the various ME Communist parties was in the development of the ME---virtually every modern Sunni/Shia thinker of the 60/70s who was fighting for self determination ie nationalism ended up in prison where they met sometimes for the first time Arab communists---and during their prison exchanges learned things like organization, living underground and population messaging at the same time learning of the similarities between the "religion of Islam" and the "ideology" of Communism/Marxism. In fact a number of ME leading communists were being jailed/killed for their political activities long before Sunnis/Shia got into the self determination fight.

    Even some of Khomeini's early writings and speeches reflected communist thinking wrapped in Shiaism.

    Why is it that still today we in the US have an extremely hard time discussing Communism in an open dialogue without people taking sides and threatening each other with bodily harm politically speaking of course.

    To understand the ME is to understand the role of Communism in the development of Sunni/Shia fundamentalism.

  2. #22
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A no occupation policy - helps to reduce resistance

    I have read the posts to date and wondered about the reverse effect of a 'no occupation policy' in the context of Western Europe, in particular the Iberian pleninsula - where in 1945 Franco ruled Spain, had been an Axis ally and next door Portugal had the Salazar dictatorship, which had eventually allied itself with the Allies.

    Yes in the Cold War context both were seen as allies, providing bases notably, but politically until 1974 kept at a distance politically. Both successfully became and remain democracies - without major bloodshed.

    It is a curious fact that the USSR shared occupation in Austria till 1954 IIRC; withdrew from northern Norway promptly and negoitated a semi-submissive realtionship with Finland. "Finlandisation" was a theme during the 'Cold War' about what could happen if the USSR was successful.
    Yugoslavia partly freed itself, but the USSR withdrew swiftly.

    Not to overlook all the countries of Eastern Europe it did occupy, each evolved a communist regime that the USSR could normally accept.

    Anyway just a thought.
    davidbfpo

  3. #23
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Mexico: no occupation policy in practice

    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Robert---your comments are actually very appropriate if one applies the same comments you made to the current situation in Mexico.

    I would argue that actually the current problems seen in Mexico are the direct results of an unfinished revolution that did not include the population.

    I would also argue that in fact the roots that caused the revolution to go unfinished were caused by our US Army military intervention which did not end until after we had declared war on the Germans during the 1st World War.

    We never seem to see analysis of that particular event ie military intervention and it's impact on the population and the revolution.
    A better case for the 'no occupation policy' thank you.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I have read the posts to date and wondered about the reverse effect of a 'no occupation policy' in the context of Western Europe, in particular the Iberian pleninsula - where in 1945 Franco ruled Spain, had been an Axis ally and next door Portugal had the Salazar dictatorship, which had eventually allied itself with the Allies.

    Yes in the Cold War context both were seen as allies, providing bases notably, but politically until 1974 kept at a distance politically. Both successfully became and remain democracies - without major bloodshed.

    It is a curious fact that the USSR shared occupation in Austria till 1954 IIRC; withdrew from northern Norway promptly and negoitated a semi-submissive realtionship with Finland. "Finlandisation" was a theme during the 'Cold War' about what could happen if the USSR was successful.
    Yugoslavia partly freed itself, but the USSR withdrew swiftly.

    Not to overlook all the countries of Eastern Europe it did occupy, each evolved a communist regime that the USSR could normally accept.

    Anyway just a thought.
    The Air Force has been saying this since the end WW2 as part of the Air Power/Project Control Theory.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    David and Slap,

    Bob's thesis is that "policy alone can be enough [to spark the "resistance effect"] if those policies are perceived as excessively inappropriate and illegitimate in nature and execution." He cited World War II and the Arab Spring as examples where policies without occupation incited armed resistance as a "natural human response". As stated in my previous posts, I think the example of World War II is problematic, though I think an argument can probably be made about the Arab Spring.

    So, in the examples of Mexico, Finland, Spain, and Portugal, what about the policies pressed upon them by the US or USSR were not "excessively inappropriate illegitimate in nature and execution"? In his comments about WWI and WWII, Bob stated that rational decision-making was fundamental ("the Allies were the lesser of two evils") in the German response, even though Germany survived WWI and was virtually dismantled after the second. If perception of policy is the determinant of armed resistance, what options to policy-makers have in shaping perception to co-opt resistance or must they abandon their policies?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    David and Slap,

    Bob's thesis is that "policy alone can be enough [to spark the "resistance effect"] if those policies are perceived as excessively inappropriate and illegitimate in nature and execution." He cited World War II and the Arab Spring as examples where policies without occupation incited armed resistance as a "natural human response". As stated in my previous posts, I think the example of World War II is problematic, though I think an argument can probably be made about the Arab Spring.

    So, in the examples of Mexico, Finland, Spain, and Portugal, what about the policies pressed upon them by the US or USSR were not "excessively inappropriate illegitimate in nature and execution"? In his comments about WWI and WWII, Bob stated that rational decision-making was fundamental ("the Allies were the lesser of two evils") in the German response, even though Germany survived WWI and was virtually dismantled after the second. If perception of policy is the determinant of armed resistance, what options to policy-makers have in shaping perception to co-opt resistance or must they abandon their policies?
    AmericanPride,

    You can make a case that post-1945 US and Western European policies towards Spain especially reinforced the Franco regime. Spain took a long time to ditch its anti-US stance as a result. If anything neither country had 'policies pressed upon them by the US'. Look how long Portugal clung on to its African colonies, without US & Western European support.

    I am no expert on Finnish history, but expect the Soviet oversight developed over time, e.g. leaving the naval bases on the Gulf of Finland. Plus the Finnish Communist Party was only able to get a small popular vote.

    Occupation after military defeat is different from occupation when the nation-state remains viable in the perception of its citizens. Eastern Europe and Finalnd were devasted by WW2, followed by a sometimes, even often, brutal Soviet military presence e.g. Hungary 1956. 'Excessively inappropriate illegitimate in nature and execution policies' followed by the USSR and its communist partners I would contend diminished over the decades.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    David and Slap,

    Bob's thesis is that "policy alone can be enough [to spark the "resistance effect"] if those policies are perceived as excessively inappropriate and illegitimate in nature and execution." He cited World War II and the Arab Spring as examples where policies without occupation incited armed resistance as a "natural human response". As stated in my previous posts, I think the example of World War II is problematic, though I think an argument can probably be made about the Arab Spring.

    So, in the examples of Mexico, Finland, Spain, and Portugal, what about the policies pressed upon them by the US or USSR were not "excessively inappropriate illegitimate in nature and execution"? In his comments about WWI and WWII, Bob stated that rational decision-making was fundamental ("the Allies were the lesser of two evils") in the German response, even though Germany survived WWI and was virtually dismantled after the second. If perception of policy is the determinant of armed resistance, what options to policy-makers have in shaping perception to co-opt resistance or must they abandon their policies?
    . I believe Ike had the proper 3 part policy. Massive retaliation at a time and place of our choosing. Which included three parts. First a strong economy at home. Second strong nuclear forces. Third strong covert action capabilites based upon plausable deniabilty.

  8. #28
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Slap,

    Quote Originally Posted by Slapout
    Third strong covert action capabilites based upon plausable deniabilty.
    Aren't the consequences of that policy (i.e. blowback) one of the major problems highlighted by Bob's argument against "occupation by policy"? In particular, wouldn't it be "illegitimate in nature and execution" to conduct "strong covert action"?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  9. #29
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Certainly covert actions would be viewed as illegitimate by those they are employed against. This is a risky business, but Slap raises a good point, and added the qualifier of "plausible deniability." Of course these things can blow up in one's face. Take our actions to put the Shah in power in Iran. The Iranian people will not soon forget or forgive that bit of Cold War manipulation.

    What we seem to discount, however, is that legal, totally overt actions can be equally or even more damaging to our security. Again, with Iran as an example, how do we think the Iranian people perceive the US in our hard, overt sanctions against Iran intended to deter them from developing a nuclear weapon? Even Iranians who do not believe their nation needs such weapons tend to believe even more fervently that the US has no right to curtail Iranian sovereignty to be something less than the sovereignty of those nations currently in possession of nukes.

    We, being a nation of laws, tend to put too much faith in actions being ok so long as they are legal. Nothing could be further from the truth. The primary test must be one of perceived appropriateness, not legality. Often this is primarily a constraint on "how" rather than "what" one believes they need to do. The vast majority of our actions in response to the attacks of 9/11 have been legal. But the majority of our actions have also been perceived as inappropriate by those they affect and by many who watch from afar. It is the inappropriateness of our responses that is, IMO, the primary reason that for all of our tactical successes we are failing at the strategic level.

    Too often we are unwilling to compromise tactical gains (that are objective, measured and reported to measure our success) in the name of attaining greater strategic gains (that are subjective, nearly impossible to measure, and therefore largely discounted in importance). How many times has President Karzai asked for reasonable constraints on tactical operations in his own country to be told "no" by the same American government that professes to be there as a guest of a sovereign nation with the mission of enhancing the legitimacy of their government? We say one thing, but then our actions have the opposite effect. We even publicly chastise President Karzai as being ungrateful when he dares to stand up for extremely reasonable sovereign rights that we would certainly demand if roles were reversed.

    So our occupation of Afghanistan is both physical and by policy. And the resistance insurgency there is very strong as a result. This resistance insurgency will wane rapidly once we back off on both of those lines of provocation. (However the revolutionary insurgency against the government we elevated into power will continue regardless of what we do, we need to accept that fact as well).
    Robert C. Jones
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  10. #30
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Slap,



    Aren't the consequences of that policy (i.e. blow back) one of the major problems highlighted by Bob's argument against "occupation by policy"? In particular, wouldn't it be "illegitimate in nature and execution" to conduct "strong covert action"?
    The world is a tough place and it is going to get tougher IMO. We need covert options and operations and let somebody else take the credit and or the blame for them. Most of the world works that way anyway which is why we get beat up so much. It is the nature of Big Power Nation Politics. We need to be able to do things quietly.

    Sure there will be mistakes and blow back but it is a far more realistic option than just saying we will send in the Marines and beat you up on world wide television because we are going to make the world safe for puppies, kittens and bunny rabbits. In a since the USA needs to grow up and act like an adult and not some spoiled child with a lot of money,weapons and Polly Anna beliefs.

    What did that dead Chinese guy say....All war is based on deception!! sometimes he is better than that dead German guy.
    Last edited by slapout9; 12-31-2013 at 05:37 AM. Reason: stuff

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    The problem with this discussion/debate is the extreme arrogance that underpins it. America this and America that, as though we're sole power that influenced good and evil in the world. Our policies certainly contributed to rebellion in some situations, but wherever we played others also played whether they were Soviets, French, Chinese, Israel, India etc. All nations pursue their interests using their own strategies and ways to achieve their ends. Seldom do populations in developing nations within our concept of a State determine their destiny without considerable interference from multiple third parties. A proxy war is just that, an extension of war between two states in another state using proxies. Both sides are being manipulated by the powers that support them, and powers are being manipulated by the proxies. The world has always been this way, this isn't unique to the Cold War and the so called inappropriate policies that we allegedly still follow (which is a very questionable assertion).

    I'm not arguing against Bob's ideas, they are old and sound ideas that have been around at least since the beginning the Cold War. Nothing written here that Ed Lansdale and others didn't write over 60 years ago about the necessity of avoiding attempt to force our ways upon foreign populations with our aggressive policies. Not surprising, that line of thought didn't garner a lot of traction back then either. Conventional minded leaders will remain conventional minded leaders.

    As to the conversation on covert operations, of course they should be in our toolbox, but that is ultimately nothing more than a way/tool. What objective are we pursuing? Then determine which way to achieve it is best. It does all start with policy, and since 9/11 we have been suffering from terrible ones.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 12-31-2013 at 09:17 AM.

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    Robert---back to your comment on it is simple---that is in fact the whole crux of the matter meaning yes we see the actions being made by say us and we see the results of those actions coming back as feedback from the population we are dealing with BUT then we the US do not want to believe that the feedback is what it is.

    Being simple means from the beginning one looks at the perception of what and how the US action is going to be received on the other end---meaning just how in the heck will the targeted population "receive" or "perceive" our actions in their own minds.

    This is where our policy and policy leaders always go astray and I mean astray.

    Will give you an example on Iran---in the 60s through the late 70s the Shah sent a number of Iranian students to study in Berlin at the cost of the Iranian government---the students who were initially shy became in a short time "radicalized" by the German student movement which was by the way in 67/68 taking on the dictatorship of the Shah went most US students had never even heard of the Shah or his SAVAK. The first German student shot by the Berlin Riot Police in 67 was demoing against the Shah during his visit to Berlin

    For those that now nothing about SAVAK it was the internal security police trained by our CIA and brutally put down anything that resembled resistance insurgency against the Shah.

    Those Iranians who were not radicalized out of fear still in their personal beliefs and in private comments hated the Shah.

    As an American it was an experience trying to catch up on the history of our coup in 53 that the Iranians you are right still resent to this day---never mentioned in any US history book of the 60s in a high school or university.

    Now this is where the fundamentalism kicks in---those students- many left and communists in the mean time raced back to Iran to help in what they viewed to be a final overthrown of US involvement in Iranian politics only to end up either killed, imprisoned or fleeing back to Berlin totally disillusioned.

    Never once during the Shah events did we the US admit to the CIA involvement in SAVAK which was truly hated in Iran.

    I happened to be flying out of Houston back to Berlin the day that the US literally kicked out the Iranian pilots who had been training in Lackland AFB as "our response" to events in Iran---GUESS WHAT everyone of those pilots were executed when they returned to Iran.

    As a former SF vet and someone who had understood what was going on inside Iran my heart broke for them---you could see in their eyes the resignation of their deaths--but they never said anything as they waited for their flight to NYC which was mine as well.

    What were the policy makers thinking---did they not understand the population, did they not truly think through their actions and how their actions would be perceived on the other end---no we just reacted out of "anger and wanted to punish Iran" for the embassy event.

    If it were so simple the world might not be where we are currently.

    To ask national policy makers to think through their actions especially on how it will be received or perceived by the target population is really hard as most Americans never have been on the ground in those countries.

    I go back to a former SF PhD Det A vet who is still working and living in Jordan who had the courage to stand in front of over 80 US MI/interrogators in Abu Ghraib in 2005 and say it takes three things to be a good interrogator;

    1. speak well any foreign language
    2. have physically lived and resided in any foreign culture for a period of time
    3. have a natural curiosity of the world around you

    I would say that they are also the requirements for a national policy maker and or his advisors---how many Presidents had we had that speak anything other than English?

    Again fundamentalism and perception in the ME are the key drivers---without them there would have never been a OBL and AQ.

    But then with them we have had the Arab Spring--we should just sit back and let it flow---populations will in the end work through their problems. That is the inherent lesson we fail to understand. We should have learned long ago to accept the results of what the population does-not fight it if it does not match our "values"---sometimes being a good friend/listener gets one further.

    I had a Kurdish interpreter in Iraq who during the ethnic cleansing that said you all need to let the Arabs literally kill each other until both are on the ground exhausted then and only then will they negotiate and settle their issues---it has always been the Arab way.
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 12-31-2013 at 09:23 AM.

  13. #33
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    To Bill's comment about arrogance, this is not a concept about America, we are simply the party de jour and the nation I am a citizen of that is currently caught up in this problem.

    It is America that is leading a global campaign to defeat a tactic and an ideology, and it is America that is not recognizing the causal role of our obsolete and controlling policies lingering in the Middle East that serve to validate much of AQ's dogma regarding "the far enemy."

    Policies that are often reasonable and necessary when initiated grow stale and inappropriate over time if not updated for the times. This is true of relationships as well, to include relationships defined in the legal terms of a treaty. In fact, the very nature of a treaty and its fixed terms leads to a relationship most likely to become outdated and inappropriate for the times we live in today. As Bill well knows, we have many treaty allies in the Pacific, treaties crafted during and for the Cold War. It is little wonder much of our pivot looks a lot like Cold War containment when so much of the policy is still crafted in Cold War terms. I would strongly urge our government and the governments of the region to make updating those treaties the policy lead to any sort of military pivot.

    This does not mean don't have treaties, but they must be living documents. This does not mean don't have partners, but partnerships must be flexible, both in their terms, and also in what we apply them to. For example, the US cannot expect NATO nations to follow us on every adventure we see as being in OUR national interests and assume that it must be in THEIR national interests as well. Often it isn't. We can wear out our friends and their populations just as fast as we wear out our opponents and their populations. Perhaps we actually have an adverse affect on the populations of friendly nations even faster than we do on those we bump heads with at the governmental level.

    Look at Iran. The people there are not too pleased with their government, but they don't blame the US for that government, so we suffer little from populace-based Iranian or Shia terrorism. Our polices to constrain Iranian sovereignty in support of our Saudi and Israeli allies, however is beginning to create a resistance effect in what is otherwise a largely pro-American Iranian population. That is unfortunate, unnecessary, and avoidable. I applaud the President's efforts to work toward normalizing US relations with what is arguably the most important nation in the Middle East.

    Being the most powerful nation on earth is an onerous task. We will have to act in ways that are hard on governments and populations at time. No question. But we always have choices as to how we pursue our interests. Currently we are too caught up in the goodness of our own narrative and therefore ascribe excessive badness to narratives that run counter to our own. This is a problem with becoming excessively ideological in one's strategy, and the US NSS is extremely ideological in tone and nature. We need to become more pragmatic and more aware of how others perceive us and our actions. This will help guide us to developing approaches that are more effective than those of the past dozen years, and that are perceived as more appropriate by the global audience who watch or are impacted by our every move.

    Resistance is as old as government and war. We did not invent resistance, nor are we the first nation to spark a resistance effect through occupation by policy. But we are the current nation caught up in this cycle, and recognizing the problem for what it is is the first step to backing away from stomping about the planet in an effort to crush the symptoms.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 12-31-2013 at 01:40 PM.
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Not to overlook all the countries of Eastern Europe it did occupy, each evolved a communist regime that the USSR could normally accept.
    They didn't develop regimes acceptable to the USSR on their own. They were guided every step of the way by the gentle hand of the Red Army and the NKVD and often the people who eventually ran those govs were selected and trained by the Russians. It is important to remember that the Red Army was always there to do what needed to be done if the USSR was displeased. They did what needed to be done on several occasions.

    Anne Applebaum wrote an extremely good book about how the USSR occupied and thoroughly pacified the countries of Eastern Europe.

    http://www.amazon.com/Iron-Curtain-C.../dp/140009593X

    It is very much worthy of study from a small war standpoint. What the Russians accomplished was quite remarkable as those countries weren't exactly pre-war hotbeds of communism and the Russians weren't well liked. Remember one of those countries was Poland. But they did it and were able to keep that boot on the faces of those countries until their relative economic power declined. Then they left, they weren't ejected. What the occupied peoples thought about it never really mattered.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    'Excessively inappropriate illegitimate in nature and execution policies' followed by the USSR and its communist partners I would contend diminished over the decades.
    It did, but that was only because thoroughly entrenched, powerful police states don't need to use the rough stuff so often. The hard part is forcing the guy into the cell. Once he's in there there isn't much need to get physical.
    Last edited by carl; 12-31-2013 at 04:41 PM.
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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Occupation by policy is a very clever phrase but what it really means is your country is doing something that another country or group of people have a beef with. Nothing new there. The clever part is in the use of the word 'occupation'. That gives the objection of the other party a sort of noble sounding cachet redolent of plucky freedom fighter resisting the colonial power, a throwback to the Che days of the Cold War if you will. So the other party isn't just ticked off that this or that country is doing something they don't like, they are resisting 'occupation'.

    The problem I have with it is this. If you are to base your policy primarily upon the need to avoid ticking other people off, you are making other countries or parties the final arbiter of your actions. That is a formula for appeasement. That will not result in a pleasant world to live in seeing as how that world has in it takfiri killers who are real honest to goodness 'Convert or die!' guys; not to mention the more sophisticated and more deadly hard eyed killers in the Chinese Communist Party. I don't like the phrase 'occupation by policy' because using it immediately puts us on the defensive thereby making it harder to recognize the bad things coming at us.

    Since we are using WWII lets go to the other side of the world for an example of what I mean. We imposed some very hard economic sanctions on Japan prior to WWII. They were throwing their weight around and killing Chinamen by the millions. So we tried to restrain them some and we viewed it as trying to keep the beast in check. Now, let us say they said you are occupying us by policy and we are only resisting nobly as a great people should. That is a little more persuasive than 'we have a right to kill Chinese with no interference'. It is a matter of semantics I grant you but it could have an effect, but only if you accept the notion of 'occupation by policy'. American leaders back then would have laughed at the notion but the feckless crew we have now might latch onto it as just one more reason to back off or do nothing at all.
    Last edited by carl; 12-31-2013 at 05:25 PM.
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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Carl,

    Save your spin, brother. You don't have to agree, but this is about being smart, not clever.

    And this is the farthest thing from appeasement ( a word right up their with "isolationist" and the phrase "abandon your allies" for rationalizing a continuation of policies il-suited for the current era). This is about recognizing the reality of the fact that the US is not particularly vulnerable to any other state, but that we are very vulnerable to every other population. In days over a century in the rearview mirror, governments did not need to worry much about how their foreign policy affected the average person. A deal between governments was good enough. No more.

    Now we must actually give pause and consider how the people perceive our actions. This applies to our allies when we drag them off to places like Afghanistan equally to our opponents when we leverage hard sanctions against the people of Iraq under Saddam or the people of Iran currently. This does not mean we do not enforce or pursue our interests at all. It simply means we need to add as a critical and weighted factor in our COA development and comparison how appropriate our actions will be perceived by the people affected directly, and indirectly as well.

    We must evolve. You seem to advocate that we double down on the past. I simply try to understand the present and determine ways to succeed into the future.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    This does not mean don't have treaties, but they must be living documents. This does not mean don't have partners, but partnerships must be flexible, both in their terms, and also in what we apply them to.
    That is a formula for chaos and chaos gets violent. You want to renegotiate treaties often, fine. But to have a treaty, a contract sort of, that is 'flexible' in terms and what we apply them to, to have a 'living document' is to have nothing at all. What you say ain't what you mean...except sometimes. That is international relations by what I feel like at the time, no predictability, anything may happen at any time. Good luck maintaining the peace that way.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    That is a formula for chaos and chaos gets violent. You want to renegotiate treaties often, fine. But to have a treaty, a contract sort of, that is 'flexible' in terms and what we apply them to, to have a 'living document' is to have nothing at all. What you say ain't what you mean...except sometimes. That is international relations by what I feel like at the time, no predictability, anything may happen at any time. Good luck maintaining the peace that way.
    Inflexible treaties turned an assassination of a single national leader into the senseless horror of WWI.

    Today we are similarly poised where bad treaties could lead to senseless war. When war is necessary wage it to win, but when war is unnecessary avoid it like the plague that it is.

    Relationships become dysfunctional over time. We must ensure that in an era of rapid change we are not caught like the powers of Europe were not so long ago into events they did not want, but could not see their way clear to escape.

    Our current defense strategy calls for "permanent allies" and "building partner capacity" as a major LOO for advancing our interests into the future. I respectfully disagree.

    We have no permanent allies,
    we have no permanent enemies,
    we only have permanent interests.

    –attributed to Henry John Temple Viscount Lord Palmerston 1784-1865, Foreign Secretary and two-time Prime Minister under Queen Victoria.
    What he actually said was [concerning apparent British apathy regarding Polish struggles against Russian hegemony, which Palmerston did not
    believe that it met the threshold of justifiable war] “He concluded with the famous peroration that Britain had no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies, only interest that were eternal and perpetual . . .”--quoted in David Brown, Palmerston and the Politics of Foreign Policy,
    1846-1855 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002), pp. 82-83.

    https://politicalscience.byu.edu/Syl...on_170_F08.pdf
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  19. #39
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Carl,

    Save your spin, brother. You don't have to agree, but this is about being smart, not clever.

    And this is the farthest thing from appeasement ( a word right up their with "isolationist" and the phrase "abandon your allies" for rationalizing a continuation of policies il-suited for the current era). This is about recognizing the reality of the fact that the US is not particularly vulnerable to any other state, but that we are very vulnerable to every other population. In days over a century in the rearview mirror, governments did not need to worry much about how their foreign policy affected the average person. A deal between governments was good enough. No more.

    Now we must actually give pause and consider how the people perceive our actions. This applies to our allies when we drag them off to places like Afghanistan equally to our opponents when we leverage hard sanctions against the people of Iraq under Saddam or the people of Iran currently. This does not mean we do not enforce or pursue our interests at all. It simply means we need to add as a critical and weighted factor in our COA development and comparison how appropriate our actions will be perceived by the people affected directly, and indirectly as well.

    We must evolve. You seem to advocate that we double down on the past. I simply try to understand the present and determine ways to succeed into the future.
    Spin can be useful. It allows a projectile to fly truer, fly farther and hit harder when it arrives. Very useful.

    Don't like the word appeasement because it's passe? Well it still exists regardless. Same with "abandon your allies". That is related to standing by your buddies which is one of the things that allows men to stick it out in battle, or so I've read. These things are forever and powerful motivators of humans which is why they keep coming up. We just can't seem to evolve beyond them.

    There is nothing new either in having to consider how the populations of countries are affected by and feel about various foreign policies. Just look at all those allies various powers have had or thought they had. The people of the countries weren't too enthusiastic about regardless of what the gov thought. The various allies of the Germans in both WWI and WWII come to mind. I recall reading too how Chiang Kai-Shek was driven into action against Japan at a militarily unpropitious time because the Chinese were so upset. Shoot, look at the problem Spain faced with us in 1898. So there is nothing new there.

    Nothing new at all really. The wise course has always been to do what you can and recognize when what you want to do ain't worth the candle. At the same time you must recognize that sometimes you have to take a stand. That's why I don't like the concept of 'occupation by policy' at all. It seems to me that it will lessen our ability to see when a stand must be made, especially given the widespread lack of moral character in our leadership class.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  20. #40
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Inflexible treaties turned an assassination of a single national leader into the senseless horror of WWI.

    Today we are similarly poised where bad treaties could lead to senseless war. When war is necessary wage it to win, but when war is unnecessary avoid it like the plague that it is.

    Relationships become dysfunctional over time. We must ensure that in an era of rapid change we are not caught like the powers of Europe were not so long ago into events they did not want, but could not see their way clear to escape.

    Our current defense strategy calls for "permanent allies" and "building partner capacity" as a major LOO for advancing our interests into the future. I respectfully disagree.



    What he actually said was [concerning apparent British apathy regarding Polish struggles against Russian hegemony, which Palmerston did not
    believe that it met the threshold of justifiable war] “He concluded with the famous peroration that Britain had no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies, only interest that were eternal and perpetual . . .”--quoted in David Brown, Palmerston and the Politics of Foreign Policy,
    1846-1855 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002), pp. 82-83.

    https://politicalscience.byu.edu/Syl...on_170_F08.pdf
    Maybe those treaties started WWI. Maybe it was German high commanders allowing the importuning of staff logistical officers to override good judgment.

    In any event, how many wars have been prevented by people being certain that countries will fulfill their formal treaty obligations? It's hard to prove a negative but probably a lot I'll wager. Countries keep making them so they have been judged for thousands of years to have much utility.

    Again, that does not mean don't renegotiate treaties frequently or even renounce them. Fine, but be up front about it. Give the other guy something to plan around. A treaty that is a 'living document' isn't a treaty at all and leaves everybody guessing. That leads to trouble.

    What does LOO mean? I know what it means in England but I don't know what it means here.

    I suppose it is true that there are no permanent allies in the long run, hundreds of years, but in the short run, scores of years, I am not so sure. This is especially true if you include the influence of popular opinion, populations as you say, upon government policy. Our support of Israel is a case in point. I suppose in the realpolitik sense we should have tossed those guys long ago, but that ain't gonna happen. And it ain't gonna happen because popular American opinion won't let it. Same thing with the other English speaking countries. Let's say the Red Chinese called up and said we want Australia or there will be war. Our response would be 'Ok, if its war you want, its war you will have.' I can't see the Americans cutting the Aussies loose. That is a good reason perhaps to make a sort of permanent ally treaty with the Aussies. The Red Chinese can avoid trying to colonize Australia and thereby avoid trouble. Good for everybody.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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