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Thread: Does FID prevent conflict? Or is it suppression?

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    Default Does FID prevent conflict? Or is it suppression?

    I was a participant in a class today going over ARSOF 2022 and the Strategic Landpower Task Force white paper when the discussion shifted towards FID itself. The argument was made that currently and in the future SOF is/will be engaged in preventing conflict around the globe through FID deployments.

    I do not believe this to be the case. In my view, a FID deployment only exists when the host nation cannot serve the needs of some segment of its populace and that segment is in the process of becoming violent (or has already done so) to achieve its political goals. By definition a nation who serves the needs of its populace and has a functioning LE and judicial system should not need our FID or SFA. To assist a nation in internal defense, it seems obvious that a conflict must already exist. The team doing the FID deployment is not preventing conflict, rather they are teaching the host force how to mitigate that threat. I can see where we could help in containing or ending a conflict, but the military skills taught are used to suppress.

    I don't believe the military is the proper source for micro loans, civil governance training, policy solutions to the conflict ect. USAID, the DoS and the Peace Corps seems much more able in preventing a conflict.

    Your thoughts?

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
    I don't believe the military is the proper source for micro loans, civil governance training, policy solutions to the conflict ect. USAID, the DoS and the Peace Corps seems much more able in preventing a conflict.

    Your thoughts?
    On this I agree with you completely. I didn't realize that these activities are being packaged as part of FID, thought that term was mainly used for purely military activities. I should have known better.

    We have to come to grips with the reality that in much of the world, including many places where insurgency thrives, "governance" is in the hands of highly regressive elite factions who are accustomed to using state resources for personal gain and using the coercive power of the state to support their own private interests. We are not going to change this by providing "development" assistance, whether through the military or through AID, DoS, etc, and in most cases we're in no position to compel these elites to change the way they govern. In these cases there's really very little point in trying to "counter" insurgency, by FID or any other means. Sometimes insurgency is a natural and necessary method of development: when those who rule refuse evolution, they get revolution. It has always been thus.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 02-08-2014 at 08:51 AM.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
    I was a participant in a class today going over ARSOF 2022 and the Strategic Landpower Task Force white paper when the discussion shifted towards FID itself. The argument was made that currently and in the future SOF is/will be engaged in preventing conflict around the globe through FID deployments.

    Your thoughts?
    Wyatt,

    In many ways the leading voices of Strategic Landpower and to some extent SOF as a whole are viewing the future as a reflection of the past decade, specifically our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. FID has a broad yet specific definition, and generally you're correct it means we're assisting a supported nation develop the capacity to deal with internal threats ranging from terrorism, insurgencies, subversion to criminal activity. It really isn't prevention since the problem exists, but more of effort to manage the problem so it doesn't metastasize, which some will argue is an effort to prevent a larger problem. It is either rehab or prehab, and generally our so-called preventive efforts are very much rehab in response to a specific threat, so while our words imply we're trying to get to the left of bang, too many, SOF included, can't conceive of operations that are not "threat focused" but rather focused on preventing (prehab) conflict by conducting engagements to encourage peace, reduce tensions, and deter potential adversaries by shaping the environment. This includes attempting to prevent the emergence of threats from internal instability, transnational threats, and mitigating tensions between states that could if unaddressed escalate into war. It involves much, much more than FID. In fact, FID may not even be required.

    Is FID oppressive? It can be has demonstrated throughout history, especially during the Cold War, but it doesn't have to be. We in the West tend to embrace the nave view that if there are security problems the government has failed because it overly oppressive. In some cases that is true, but in others, the insurgents/criminals etc. are far from liberators, and just as often as not do not represent the majority of the population, so in my opinion the answer is the one everyone hates: it depends.

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