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Thread: The Illusion of Peacetime

  1. #21
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Slap,

    So, my definition, created today, is "why we keep losing"? Ha! Such power I have!!

    I would offer that the primary reason we "keep losing" is that we take on things we shouldn't take on, and then define winning in impossible terms.
    BW,
    Not power..... but force, political force vs combat power.The commies understood and exploited the difference. So when you define something and the leadership accepts that definition you will be misdirected and end up targeting the wrong object and thus lose. Which is why we (USA) keep loosing by not understanding that our enemy combines political force and combat power to
    achieve their goals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Of course there is a spectrum of competition - but everything on that spectrum is not necessarily "special," "general," or "warfare."
    War is a two party system. If the other system says they are at war with you and you refuse to accept that, you are in denial and will loose, which is part of Special Warfare.

    The creation of Psychological Paralysis and make an incorrect choice, through subversive propaganda.

    I was very clear in my definition that a system of governance as I defined it did not need to be a state).
    Sorry,
    You were clear. That comment was for the larger audience.

  2. #22
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    When I drive down the street and a four year old boy on the side of the road flips me the bird - are we at war because he decided, and should I stop everything, get out of my car and "defeat" him?

    I would win the battle, and lose the war. The US actually acts just the way you say we should act. We do not "lose" because we do not do as you recommend, we lose because we do act this way.

    Just as a woman can steal the power of a powerful man by seducing him (I.e., President Clinton gave his power to Monica Lewinski when he gave in to her advances, and nearly lost the Presidency as a result); so too can a powerful nation give it's power to a weak challenger by giving them too much credit. We gave our power to AQ by exaggerating their danger and dragging them up to our level (or dragging ourselves down to theirs).

    I'm listening to the sales pitch, but I'm still not buying.
    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
    When I drive down the street and a four year old boy on the side of the road flips me the bird - are we at war because he decided, and should I stop everything, get out of my car and "defeat" him?

    I would win the battle, and lose the war. The US actually acts just the way you say we should act. We do not "lose" because we do not do as you recommend, we lose because we do act this way.

    Just as a woman can steal the power of a powerful man by seducing him (I.e., President Clinton gave his power to Monica Lewinski when he gave in to her advances, and nearly lost the Presidency as a result); so too can a powerful nation give it's power to a weak challenger by giving them too much credit. We gave our power to AQ by exaggerating their danger and dragging them up to our level (or dragging ourselves down to theirs).

    I'm listening to the sales pitch, but I'm still not buying.
    Someone wiser than me once said--until we the US is at peace among ourselves there can be no global peace---something to that.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    When I drive down the street and a four year old boy on the side of the road flips me the bird - are we at war because he decided, and should I stop everything, get out of my car and "defeat" him?

    I would win the battle, and lose the war. The US actually acts just the way you say we should act. We do not "lose" because we do not do as you recommend, we lose because we do act this way.

    Just as a woman can steal the power of a powerful man by seducing him (I.e., President Clinton gave his power to Monica Lewinski when he gave in to her advances, and nearly lost the Presidency as a result); so too can a powerful nation give it's power to a weak challenger by giving them too much credit. We gave our power to AQ by exaggerating their danger and dragging them up to our level (or dragging ourselves down to theirs).

    I'm listening to the sales pitch, but I'm still not buying.

    Hold on for a bit. Have to go to work. Will continue the sales pitch later.

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    Posted by Bob's World

    When I drive down the street and a four year old boy on the side of the road flips me the bird - are we at war because he decided, and should I stop everything, get out of my car and "defeat" him?

    I would win the battle, and lose the war. The US actually acts just the way you say we should act. We do not "lose" because we do not do as you recommend, we lose because we do act this way.
    This comparison has little to do with what we're dealing with today. Much like Bacevichs endless polemics that attempt to wish threats away, and worse none of his arguments are supported by facts. It is simply an endless diatribe against the Cold War (hell, he should have moved to the USSR where he could have assisted them with their "peaceful competition" efforts to expand communism), and now he claims Islamists don't threaten the U.S. Oh I forgot, U.S. politicians actually rigged the world trade center with explosives, it wasn't Islamists who conducted the attack. Enough on Bacevich and back to reality.

    Whether we disagree or are just talking past one another I can't ascertain at this point. I do agree with Slapout's point that war involves more than combat. We tend to recognize that with illusionary strategies (the strategies we want to have) that integrate and synergize the elements of national power to achieve our national security objectives. It isn't restricted to special warfare, but from a military perspective the writings on special warfare best capture the logic of a holistic approach.

    I do appreciate you providing a definition of war, so at least now we have a position to debate. This will come as no surprise, but I found your definition too limited in scope. If you're in the camp that Clausewitz wrote all we need to know about war, then it could be sound. While recognizing CvC's brilliance, I also think the world has moved on from the wars he studied and wrote about, yet recognizing in some cases they still exist and will exist again. However, what he described in beautiful detail is a slice of a larger whole.

    Sun Tzu came closer, and since I'm too lazy to what over and pull the book off the shelf. His points about winning without fighting, and setting conditions to win before the first battle is waged are relevant. A lot of so called security experts (specifically those who think COIN is the end all be all in modern warfare) fail to appreciate that our technical dominance does matter, and few Americans would want to go to war in an environment where our forces didn't dominate the air and maritime domains (now add space and cyber). What we failed to grasp is that we can dominate all the physical domains, and still fail to dominate the human domain. A lot of writing on the topic, but in my view our writing pales in comparison to our adversaries who actually appear to be more effective in manipulating this domain. A lot of that is due to the asymmetry in our laws, and the false assumptions that our liberal democratic culture promotes.

    I digress, back to peacetime competition and war (and maybe something in between). Peacetime competition for markets and political influence, is different than competition between actors for markets, political, information, military influence when the aim to (using your words):

    War must threaten to compromise the sovereignty of one system of governance to the advantage of the sovereignty of another.

    We can say that war is politics or policy by other means, but it is for many reasons, most often to deal with a perceived security concern, or to expand the wealth, power and/or influence of at least one of the parties. This naturally affects politics, and is a matter of policy.
    You also wrote,
    2. War may be legal or illegal, but I believe must be violent.
    It would sound pedantic if I asked you to define violence, so I'll just jump to the point. Would "force" be more appropriate than violence in today's context? Since war is a contest between two or more opponents where each attempts to impose their will upon the other, can will be imposed by means other than violent warfare? Sanctions (though almost never effective it is an attempt to force our will upon others), what about cyber attacks (different form espionage)? If whatever state attacked Iran's nuclear facility with a worm, were they engaged in an act of war? Finally, jumping to the gray zone, what about subversion? Why did the USSR (Bacevich conveniently neglects to cover this in his numerous diatribes) consider the U.S. promoting human rights as an act of war?

    Your first point,
    I believe war must be between two or more complete systems of governance.
    A system of governance need not be a state, but must have some form of governing body/system, a security force of some sort, and a distinct population. I think there probably needs to be a territory requirement as well to create a degree of tangibility necessary for war. (So AQ lacks the prerequisite characteristics to participate in war, regardless of what they might declare, or how they might act).
    On first glance, my strongest disagreement with your definition of war is your comment above. I think al-Qaeda can and has waged war, and considering the number of states under duress due to the movement al-Qaeda promoted they actually present an existential threat to many governments. The beauty of netwar is that owning territory is not required. Yes wars will still be fought over territory, and conventional forces will continue to clash (probably increasing in likelihood), but stateless people can wage what appears to be intangible war
    to deal with a perceived security concern, or to expand the wealth, power and/or influence of at least one of the parties.
    In some cases it isn't about expanding their power as much as it reducing ours.

    Back to my initial concerns. First, if we ignore others are waging war against us we forfeit the initiative and remain in a reactive role (often after we are in a position of disadvantage). Second, failure to recognize it as war (or some other term) that compels us to develop a holistic strategy (operationalize Phase 0) to win without fighting, or at least limit the fighting required will lead to higher intensity conflicts (wars) in the future. The type of war we're engaged in now doesn't require us to mobilize additional forces, but to treat shaping operations with the same level of seriousness we give to major theater wars.

  6. #26
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Smile Sales Pitch Continues

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    When I drive down the street and a four year old boy on the side of the road flips me the bird - are we at war because he decided, and should I stop everything, get out of my car and "defeat" him?

    I would win the battle, and lose the war. The US actually acts just the way you say we should act. We do not "lose" because we do not do as you recommend, we lose because we do act this way.

    Just as a woman can steal the power of a powerful man by seducing him (I.e., President Clinton gave his power to Monica Lewinski when he gave in to her advances, and nearly lost the Presidency as a result); so too can a powerful nation give it's power to a weak challenger by giving them too much credit. We gave our power to AQ by exaggerating their danger and dragging them up to our level (or dragging ourselves down to theirs).

    I'm listening to the sales pitch, but I'm still not buying.
    In some cases what you mention is nothing but bad parents and a severe marriage problem.

    BUT if the 4 year old is part of a Revolutionary Youth Group and his parents belong to the Parent group, it is an act of War and should be dealt with at the level of force.

    If sexual blackmail of a senior political official is being used for the purpose of some foreign state or revolutionary group that to is an act of war and should be dealt with by the appropriate force also.

    People forget that we "won" the cold war because we recognized it was a War not a competition. People forget competitions have rules, boundaries and referees and penalties if one party breaks the rules. There is no such mechanism outside of the borders of America. We recognized that during the Cold War and we kept it from getting "Hot" by using Diplomatic warfare, Information Warfare,Economic warfare and Covert Warfare.


    If you can still find it read a copy of Ike's "Goals for America". The man had clear vision of what America needed to do to remain strong. And as time went by we have violated most of it and we know find ourselves in the predicament we are in.

  7. #27
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    Default We Need Elvis And One Nation Under God Like Ike Said

    Last edited by slapout9; 03-18-2015 at 06:56 PM. Reason: stuff

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    I think the myth of the nature of Western victory in the Cold War is as dangerous to us as the "victors" as the actual loss was to the Russians.

    We never give the Russians credit where credit is due. Certainly not for their role in the defeat of the Germans in WWII; nor for the role of Gorbachav as a visionary leader who's policies served to empower the people of Eastern Europe to stand up, and who's decision to not crush those who led the revolutionary actions that led to the collapse of the deeply flawed Soviet system in truly leading to our victory.

    But the Cold War was not war, and most of our most troubling baggage coming out of that time is from those places where we opted to conduct operations in a war-like manner. It will be generations before we overcome the negative side effects of our decision to employ a containment strategy, and certainly how men like the Dulles brothers opted to implement the same.
    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)

  9. #29
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Bill

    I think Clausewitz does handle war pretty well. Where we get in trouble is when we try to apply Clausewitz to problems that are not war, internal revolution, for example; and also terrorist campaigns conducted by non-state political action groups like AQ.

    If you call it war, the Clausewitzians will try to apply his theories. It just doesn't work.

    The realities of peace is that there will always be individuals and organizations that threaten you, but that are not a threat to you. AQ certainly fits that description. Likewise ISIL and dozens of other groups that we insist on labeling as "terrorist" in order to enable our use of tactics that are incredibly erosive of our national influence, and that too often serve to validate the accusations of those who threaten us and to expand their influence.

    We need a new category of competition. Clausewitz saw only tactical and strategic levels of war, but we find defining an operational level helpful. A zone in the middle that serves better than efforts to stretch the two ends to meet. There is a zone between legal peacetime competition and war as well. Many now call that the "Gray Zone" - but without better understanding of the nature of those conflicts and better policies, authorities, and approaches a mere naming convention serves little purpose.

    Rising powers will always paint outside the lines to expand their sovereignty. Smart ones will do so in a manner that does not trip clear triggers that bring war down upon them. When the US was a rising power we had no problem with this. Now that we are the primary keeper of the status quo we are losing our minds in frustration. I can laugh or cry at our response to this change of roles, and do a bit of both.

    We need a fix, but "forever war" is no fix. At least not for this nation as it was designed and intended to be.
    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)

  10. #30
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Cold War Is Not War.....Yep I Agree

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post

    But the Cold War was not war.

    That is absolutely correct and that was the whole point of it. There was Small wars (called brush fire wars) back then, General War and Special War(nick named the Cold War). Because of Nukes we had to find something different besides all out war and it was not just a small war (guerrilla war) but something between those extremes.

    It is certainly much more then a mere competition. As I said competition is for sports......dosen't work when whole industries can be wiped out and millions loose there livelihoods and destroy there entire way of life. To say that it is just a competition is to show how well psychological ops work at confusing the moral basis of human decision making.

    The modern version of this is China's rare earth policy. A combo economic/war strategy/political policy. They snatch up all the critical materials for war production and call it peace. Forget CvC he is old school.

  11. #31
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    War is a type of problem demanding a war solution. That is the only value really for any classification of this type. To expand that classification to a broad range of problematic forms of competition that di not demand, nor are likely to be resolved by, a war solution is unhelpful at best, and counterproductive to our national identity and interests.

    This is a primary reason Western COIN is so ineffective - we think of revolution as war, but then apply a confused mix of peace and war approaches. Pure war approaches are best for fast suppression of symptoms of revolution, non -war civil emergency responses best for durable resolution. Plus we refuse to recognize that COIN is a purely domestic operation.

    I totally agree that our span of influence as we have defined it is under attack by rising powers. Part of that is that we seek to control too much. Part is actually important. We need to close the left door of the gray zone chart I posted, and refresh our deterrence and add clarity and certainty to red lines and responses to close the "right door" of my diagram.. That is just smart business, not war.

    Call this war and we will just dive into the middle and flail away at the symptoms.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 03-19-2015 at 10:14 AM.
    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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    War is a type of problem demanding a war solution. That is the only value really for any classification of this type. To expand that classification to a broad range of problematic forms of competition that di not demand, nor are likely to be resolved by, a war solution is unhelpful at best, and counterproductive to our national identity and interests.
    Bob, I disagree with this view. This reminds me of the flawed effects based operations (EBO) the joint force adapted for awhile. If X, then Y. Despite our many flaws, I think we're more sophisticated than this as a nation. We are capable of recognizing there are different levels of war and many types of warfare, and very few require us (or more importantly our adversary) to capture a capital city or attrite their military forces (traditional Clausewitzian approach to warfare).

    This is a primary reason Western COIN is so ineffective - we think of revolution as war, but then apply a confused mix of peace and war approaches. Pure war approaches are best for fast suppression of symptoms of revolution, non -war civil emergency responses best for durable resolution. Plus we refuse to recognize that COIN is a purely domestic operation.
    In the Philippines it is mostly traditional insurgency; however, Iraq and Afghanistan would never be resolved by addressing problems that were within their borders. It was a war, and insurgency was only a part of it. In both cases more aggressive military action was required, but we defaulted to nation building with predictable results. The military actions and the nation building efforts were half hearted efforts based on simplistic views of winning the population and decapitating the insurgent leadership.

    I totally agree that our span of influence as we have defined it is under attack by rising powers. Part of that is that we seek to control too much. Part is actually important. We need to close the left door of the gray zone chart I posted, and refresh our deterrence and add clarity and certainty to red lines and responses to close the "right door" of my diagram.. That is just smart business, not war.
    Deterrence is failing, and in my opinion for deterrence to work we will have to act to demonstrate our will to act. It still won't work in all cases, especially against adversary networks that we can't effectively threaten. Is the gray zone the same as what some people are calling the space in the middle between peace and war? The problem with defining it as something in the middle is we think it is something we can ignore. States and non-state actors conduct operations in the so-called middle to achieve the same objectives they could pursue via war. The point is the if they achieve those objectives in the gray space (or middle space) without resorting the traditional war the strategic impact is the same. This is why we must treat this as important as war. It is not peace.

    Call this war and we will just dive into the middle and flail away at the symptoms.
    Only if we're idiots, I have seen little sign that we treat nonconventional war the same way we treat traditional war.
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    I keep on reading the posts and so far have refrained from posting. The questions and answers appear so American. One day I might.

    Meantime via Twitter this short article landed which IMHO fits, even if painful: Why the worlds biggest military keeps losing wars, by a combat photographer:http://www.pieria.co.uk/articles/why...ps_losing_wars

    So what is his argument?
    Here are four factors worth considering, in descending order of importance. Too much logistics, not enough combat;
    Learn the Language;
    Fear of Casualties;
    War as Symbol;

    He asks: War, What is it good For? Absolutely Nothing
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I keep on reading the posts and so far have refrained from posting. The questions and answers appear so American. One day I might.

    Meantime via Twitter this short article landed which IMHO fits, even if painful: Why the worlds biggest military keeps losing wars, by a combat photographer:http://www.pieria.co.uk/articles/why...ps_losing_wars

    So what is his argument?
    Um? Why does this conversation sound American?

    Of course we won't hear Europeans discussing war, because they have failed to invest in their national defense and prefer to pretend that war now is little more than peace keeping. When Russia bared her horns Europe started to wake up, but instead of spending more on defense to prevent/deter further aggression it chooses to depend upon the country they always criticize to provide their security. It has been the same old story for years.

    The combat photographer didn't identify why we lose wars, he identified why our operations are excessively expensive and ineffective.

    Too much logistics, not enough combat;
    True, GEN McCrystal tried to fix this in Afghanistan, by closing down the Burger Kings and pushing more troops into the fight, but unfortunately he was relieved before it could be implemented. People got the same combat pay whether they hung out on base their entire tour, our lived in a combat outpost getting shot at daily. We incentivized people to become rear area pogs that often didn't continue squat to the overall war fighting effort. Despite the gross waste of money, we didn't lose any wars because of this.

    Learn the Language;
    Sounds good, but this isn't practical for an entire Army that has global responsibilities. His claim that 95% of the Iraqis locked up were innocent is a gross exaggeration, but there were certainly problems in this regard. Assuming we lost the war (I would argue we didn't, we removed Saddam and installed another government, that government failed), it wasn't due to a lack of linguists.

    Fear of Casualties;
    It depends upon the operation how much risk the politicians will be willing to accept. I have seen no evidence this caused to lose any war.

    War as Symbol;
    A symbol of what? How did cause it to lose? I love the politically left interpretation of Vietnam. We left Vietnam after North Vietnam signed an agreement (after our military pressured them to do so), two years after we left North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam with superior conventional forces (not an insurgency) and seized control. We were too weakened politically to respond due to a combination of things happening at the time.

    Assuming the U.S. lost any wars, who beat us? Then tie how the four items above resulted in our loss. We will lose future wars by not realizing we're at war, and the character of the wars we're in.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Historically, waging war against peace does not yield durable strategic results. If our goal is temporary tactical successes that bleed our strategic strength to the point where we are ultimately defeated in a death of a thousand cuts, then ok. But I will continue to advocate for approaches that are more likely to sustain us as a powerful nation.

    The wisest use of power is often restraint. We have acted without wisdom far too much in the post WWII era. A wealthy powerful nation against those brought to their knees by global war could afford that luxury. But now the scale is re-balancing. We must once again set ideology and tactics aside, and become more realist and strategic.
    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
    Historically, waging war against peace does not yield durable strategic results. If our goal is temporary tactical successes that bleed our strategic strength to the point where we are ultimately defeated in a death of a thousand cuts, then ok. But I will continue to advocate for approaches that are more likely to sustain us as a powerful nation.

    The wisest use of power is often restraint. We have acted without wisdom far too much in the post WWII era. A wealthy powerful nation against those brought to their knees by global war could afford that luxury. But now the scale is re-balancing. We must once again set ideology and tactics aside, and become more realist and strategic.
    You confuse war with a series of tactical actions, that is what we're doing now in lieu of having a serious war strategy. A strategy does not require the military to be in the lead. In short, I agree with your assertion on our current approach. Where we differ is what we name it. I think we approach what we're doing now as peace with no comprehensive strategy in sight, and you seem to think we're approaching it as war.

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    I know we largely agree, and while I do not feel particularly confused about what war is, I do think that what we are actually bemoaning here is the want of an effective national grand strategy that describes an approach to the world that allows the US to once again be able to "play to win." Our post Cold War strategy has been a "play not to lose" approach to a world full of actors who are all playing to win.

    So, my question is, do we want to define ourselves as a nation in negative terms that declare war on the world, or do we want to define ourselves as a nation in positive terms of peace, but that fully recognize that we will often be dealing with all manner of illegal and violent conflicts in the execution of said strategy?

    I do not need to call all things war. It is neither accurate nor helpful; and it is not who we are. Americans do not play not to lose well. It grates at our competitive nature. We do not need forever war, but we do need a strategy we can play to win.

    Google this paper as one example.
    Chapter One, Toward a New Strategy of Peace
    Christopher Holshek and Melanie Greenberg
    Alliance for Peacebuilding
    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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    You have a habit of taking everything to the extreme, perhaps a side effect from reading CvC too much?

    So, my question is, do we want to define ourselves as a nation in negative terms that declare war on the world,
    No where did I or anyone say declare war on the world. In fact, much of the world is with us, and are disappointed in lack of strategy in those we must counter.

    I do think that what we are actually bemoaning here is the want of an effective national grand strategy that describes an approach to the world that allows the US to once again be able to "play to win." Our post Cold War strategy has been a "play not to lose" approach to a world full of actors who are all playing to win.
    Well said, it would be interesting to see how many counter this and counter that strategies we actually have. We have counternarcotic networks, counter terrorism networks, counter human trafficking networks, counter this networks, counter that networks . . ., the point is we fragment into more and more stove pipes and lack a collective effort that would address all these issues more effectively.

    or do we want to define ourselves as a nation in positive terms of peace, but that fully recognize that we will often be dealing with all manner of illegal and violent conflicts in the execution of said strategy?
    I can't distinguish between war, conflict, and confrontation. These are terms we tend to throw around carelessly without clear definitions, and they seem to be used to avoid the term war, while to most people they still look like war.

    I do not need to call all things war. It is neither accurate nor helpful; and it is not who we are. Americans do not play not to lose well. It grates at our competitive nature. We do not need forever war, but we do need a strategy we can play to win.
    This is a fair comment, and it gets back to my original point about DOD as a profession (and the larger national security apparatus) that has failed to develop a relevant lexicon for the 21st Century. If we stick with your definition of war, then the terms war and peace are inadequate and misleading.

  19. #39
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    I don't always agree with Colin Gray, but he is one of the more prolific writers on strategy and war. The areas in bold are my injected highlights to facilitate further discussion. I think he is close to being on the mark, but not quite there if I'm interpreting his thoughts as he intended correctly. The comments below Gray's are mine, I'm branching off his thoughts. Mine loosely nest with his, but I don't want to give the perception I'm using his arguments to justify mine. I'm confident he would disagree with my branches.

    https://www.infinityjournal.com/arti...ntext_and_War/

    Terminology: Clarity, Context and War
    By Infinity Journal 03/26/2013


    War is not simply the interaction of two state-sanctioned militaries interacting through military means. Rather, war is the use of violence as one tool of politics in order to compel an adversary to do your will.(1) The violence can take many forms and your desired effect of an adversary can be infinite, but what always remains is that it involves the use of force as an instrument to achieve an end. War is a political act to create a political change in an adversary that is beneficial to your own situation.
    As he explains in the article and other writings, politics is not restricted to states. In fact, small to large non-state groups can and do declare war upon states. They often employ terrorism as supporting tactics, and increasingly they employ terrorism as a form of strategy. To confuse terrorism as simply tactics, and not also as a strategy to compel an adversary to make political changes through the use of force/coercion. The failure to grasp this leads to our confusion on whether or not we're at war with non-state actors. If they are using terrorism to compel political changes, then it is a form of war period. Most wars do not require mobilization of one's nation to wage major battles, rather they're indefinite and relatively small scale affairs, where battle is not decisive.

    Colin argues the use of force is required to make it a war, he tends to exchange the terms force and violence as though they're the same thing. I guess it depends upon how you define violence. Is the use of offensive cyber to destroy or disrupt an adversary's cyber systems or infrastructure considered violence? If it is used to compel political change, is it a use of force? Is subversion to promote an uprising against a government considered a use of force? Finally, and not addressed in Gray's article, is Iran's and China's use of soft power tools to marginalize U.S. strategic influence a form of strategic maneuver related to winning an undeclared war, but yet short of war? In my view it is short of war, but it is related to war, and can determine the outcome of future conflicts, as much as moving and maneuvering military forces in preparation and execution of a battle. Putting troops on ships to move them to North Africa to fight the Germans is clearer prelude to war, the intent is clear. Other forms of maneuver in the political and economic domains are not always so clear. Competition? Definitely. Just friendly competition? Hardly.

    Strategy is a process of negotiation between those that develop the ends (policy makers) and those that execute, through ways and means, war.(2) This negotiation creates a narrative for employing the forces in such a way as to create the desired effect on an adversary. It is not a static product designed to allocate resources for a set contingency, nor simply a plan of action updated every five years. It is a living and breathing process undertaken by and between human beings that is dedicating to determining the best policy for a desired outcome against an adversary, which must have the capacity to use or threaten violence, and how to develop and employ resources to achieve it. Any definition of strategy must contain the element of violence. The reason is simple: if one has no means (combat), one cannot have a strategy.
    I'll start at the bottom, I strongly disagree that strategy must contain an element of violence, and that violence is the only means a group or state has to pursue it ends. If he is referring to a conventional war strategy (one type of strategy), then he has a point. However, the world is more complex than this, and strategy is not something the military alone owns.

    Moving back to the top of the paragraph, I strongly agree with these comments. As a friend told me recently, we too recently hear the broken record that we don't have a strategy, everything is going bad because we don't have a strategy, etc. IMO this is complete BS, the reality is we have an evolving strategy based on the negotiation process. I agree it appears to be evolving in the wrong direction. But to think we if had some document that locked in our ends, ways, and means all would be better in the world, we're fooling ourselves.

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