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Thread: Do we require a victory or a Triumph?

  1. #21
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    - now if I could just get my hillbilly woman with her sawed off shotgun convereted into an avatar, I mean we haven't addressed the aesthetics of triumph so far....... triumph often aint pretty after all

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Steve, thanks...took me forever to find that one and figure which keys to push to make it work. My keyboard has all these extra keys on it does your?
    Sometimes, yeah. Now maybe I'll have to find a Castillo or Captain Real Estate (Maynard) to go with Crockett...or Stan and Larry...
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Steve, I tried Capt. real estate......video.... but no stills.

    goesh, I don't think you can shrink hillbilly women small enough to fit in that little box.
    Last edited by slapout9; 06-08-2007 at 06:09 PM. Reason: fix stuff

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Am I a Neo-Con?

    Hey Tequilla,

    Are you saying that we need to fundamentally transform the conditions that lead to terrorism? Isn't this a tad utopian, maybe even a bit neoconnish? We're having more than enough problems just securing Baghdad.

    What is the road to this Triumph, the proper course to overcome the root causes of hatred? Democracy? Capitalism? How are we going to bring it to MENA or Central Asia?
    Yes. That is what I'm saying. Yes it is utopian if you believe it rectifies all human differences - but I think t only provides the opportunity to work differecnces through without competing with the clutter of isolating individuals and groups found in dictatorships (Saddam, Tito, Stalin, Kim, Fidel, Hugo). Although I don't think its Neo-Conservative. However, let me qualify it. This goes to goesh's and Steve's observation that this is about the pursuit of power by illegitimate means (at least I think so) - no matter if we are talking political, or criminal.

    Until you address the root causes of why men like Bin Laden, and dictators are able to assume the role of leadership, you will not get rid of terrorism. It is a tactic to achieve political purpose through coercion by folks who cannot go state on state. It is also a way to recruit people who have a multitude of folks with grievances to pin the source of their troubles on something identifiable other then themselves and through such things as perversion of religion, to justify hate and violence. Once you go down the road of terrorism you find that you need money to pull it off since you are off the grid - you work hand in hand with drug traffickers, slavers, money launderers etc - you justify your actions to the world by saying the political/ religious values you are killing people for has forced you into acting contrary to them - but only until you get your way, then the world will right, and you can wipe out all those folks you were sleeping with during your rise to the top.

    While I believe you have to kill men like Bin Laden (some people just need to be killed - they are just that bad), I also believe you can't win this fight by just killing everybody who puts in an IED - unless you are willing to start killing anybody who might (or might be) put in an IED. I've seen that approach and the effects of it. You have to ask why these folks are willing to risk everything (death) in order to do it & you have to address that problem. There is no mono-causal explanation for terrorism - but there are some candidates that are stronger then others. I think terrorism is a problem, but it is also a symptom of a larger problem. No, we can't do it alone - we can't force a solution, but we can be a part of it - but not until we understand the problem and apply our resources in that direction. This is far bigger then Iraq, with globalization will only get worse as some people will find more reasons to turn to terrorism or to follow those who do in order to have some value. I'm not a sociologist, but I've been around enough people and enough places to form an opinion.

    I think the answer does lie in some form of government that offers individuals hope & opportunity. The world has changed - the tools of terror are cheap and available to most in the world - cell phones, some chemicals for explosives and pissed off people. The tools were not as available 50 or even 20 years ago, the means for people to communicate and coordinate are growing, they allow people to find out who has what and who does not. They also allow for allot of good and neutral things, but if they live in a government that cannot or will not keep up then they seek redress. After awhile some get more frustrated and get violent. Violence has quality that either causes society to react to contain and punish it (if they can), or causes society to endorse it - remember the LA Riots - it just runs away - a force of nature - like in Baghdad. So yea, I think capitalism in today's Information powered world can offer a person to have hope and be content - to find value in their life that is too important to risk by participation towards, apathy towards terrorism, to produce and consume and participate. I also think some form of democracy is good - yes it must match the cultural environment to those that are governed - but fundamentally it provides a "voice" to the individual. All the various democratic states (and even organizations) do that. I don't know of one dictatorship that empowers any individual other then the dictator. Even China is trying to adopt its form of government to recognize the role the individual plays in progress while preserving those things that make it Chinese.

    Extending Democracy as a key part of U.S. Policy has been along allot longer then the Neo-Cons. It makes you wonder why? What is attractive about a democracy? Why do so many want to come to the U.S.? Why is freedom and the chance to succeed so important to people around the world? Why do Cubans float on tire tubes and risk sharks and drowning? Why do Mexican immigrants risk death in a van crossing the desert? Why do so many Chinese risk being locked up in a container ship on a trans-Pacific voyage? Anyone else beside Johnny Depp immigrate from the U.S. to France? Anybody beating down the doors to move from L.A. or D.C. to say Kazakhstan - unless your a PMC getting paid?

    Are we having trouble securing Baghdad - yep. How have we tried to do it? Where did we miss some opportunties and have to learn the hard way? I am not justifying regime change as a preferred way to achieve policy. I am saying that there are other ways to promote democratic values that we may not have tried yet, or are just beginning to understand the value of - through re-examining how we think about foreign policy and foreign relations - maybe Iraq was the catalyst, or maybe its the realization of how the world is shrinking and what that means. maybe there are other reasons why states should work together. Yep - little di - e and big M has caused us to consider all sorts of things such as short term success does not equal a long term solution. Consider how AFRICOM is being organized and why it is looking different then the other COCOMS?

    So yes, I beleive the best expression of political freedom to be in some form of democracy - and I beleive free market capitalism to be one of the benefits of an open political systemthat offers the opportunity to succeed.

    WM & Tom - I get you, but I had to use two words that were different enough and not played out (unless you were Roman). Triumph does not get much use, and signifies something larger then just victory - we've seen and heard victory so much on Fox & in the Post we associate with the status quo - we have watered it down.

    Slapout - do you have an alligator on your boat?
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 06-08-2007 at 07:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Sometimes, yeah. Now maybe I'll have to find a Castillo or Captain Real Estate (Maynard) to go with Crockett...or Stan and Larry...
    It ain't Stan and Larry without their "bug mobile" Van.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    WM & Tom - I get you, but I had to use two words that were different enough and not played out (unless you were Roman). Triumph does not get much use, and signifies something larger then just victory - we've seen and heard victory so much on Fox & in the Post we associate with the status quo - we have watered it down.
    Rob,

    Maybe we ought to go with something more like "winning militarily" and "winning the peace". Or maybe "short term win" vs. "long term win."

    It is Friday afternoon and I'm about out of bright ideas for this week--just straw left between the old burlap ears.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    WM,
    Your right, its allot easier to talk about it that way. It also sounds neutral - not just a U.S. benefits sort of thing.Thanks, regards, Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Rob,

    Maybe we ought to go with something more like "winning militarily" and "winning the peace". Or maybe "short term win" vs. "long term win."

    It is Friday afternoon and I'm about out of bright ideas for this week--just straw left between the old burlap ears.
    I'd go with these terms as well. They tend, at least to me, to be more descriptive and quantifiable.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    Slapout - do you have an alligator on your boat?

    Nope.........
    Last edited by SWCAdmin; 06-09-2007 at 12:01 AM. Reason: fix quote display

  10. #30
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Managing Expectations - Neo-Cons & the idea of winning militarily

    I think the idea of Neo-Conservatism might be worth talking about, its arguable that it is the political philosophy we rode to Baghdad (although lots of folks voted on both sides of the aisle).

    We decided there was a worthy political objective in preventing Saddam Hussein from obtaining WMD. We decided Saddam Hussein was the Center of Gravity and that regime change was all that we required. We (with the exception of a few folks who looked beyond) believed that winning militarily would guarentee a regime change that would solve all of our problems.

    What was the public expectations about Iraq? They bought into it, got behind it, and then got (and remain) frustrated about the costs. What were the military expectations about Iraq? How many of us thought we'd still be in this stage of the fight after watching Afghanistan? What were the political expectations about Iraq? Did the President and his administration envision the cost? Remember the President ran on a pretty domestic platform in 2000.

    Since then the political objectives have been redefined (or you can also say refined). We have a different understanding of global terrorism and the threat it poses. Iraq has caused us to consider the world differently. Our policy went from only considering those who were with us and those who are against us in the wake of 9/11 to questioning our own motives for using military force and begining to understand how important preparation for winning the peace is.

    I think with Iraq we look out now and see just how much instability in the world there is - it has always been there and anybody who has went to the 3rd world will tell you about human suffering - but we declined to deal with it nationally because it did not meet the criteria. We have started to seriously look at Pandemics and Global Warming as more then just someting the Europeans and Africans should worry about. We're looking at refugges and migrations, drought and famine. We are starting to connect the dots. We've started to consider if the military structure we've used with success is the right one for the challenges ahead. We have had to look at how General Officers are made, how the Internet can give you a black eye when compromising photos show up, and if MILBLOGs are important. We've had to consider if the range of insturments for foreign policy are proportional, and what that means. We've had to look at our energy needs and our participation in foreign markets and what that means for shor and long term consequences.

    I think we are in it for the long haul. I don't think we have much choice but to engage the world in an effort to solve problems. I think we have a choice what tools to use to solve those problems, and I think we have an obligation to ensure that first there is a problem before we try and solve it, and that the solution is beneficial to those who have to live with it, and that for as well as it can, we form a consensus and obtain the types of support international consensus brings. I also beleive that to do that we may need to be more cautious about how we approach problems - starting with understanding that while the short term military fix may be faster, it may not be the right one at all, and if it cannot be applied without the expectation that political accomodation must follow.

    I guess that was why I started the thread. victory and triumph sort of jumped out as qualifications for political military success in the pre-OIF lexicon. It seemed like a good place to start. The word triumph also seemed like something big enough to describe what it would mean to have a turning point in how we choose to use our power. That may seem unrealistic, but in light of the many common threats that really don't care where you live, and the fact that our economic interests and livelyhoods are so entwined, it seem to make sense. Winning the Peace is a fantastic way to describe it, to get your arms around it, to work towards it. It probably allows us to get at the mechanics needed to make it happen and to consider at least when use of military force is appropriate. I still like the word though - winning the peace to me would be a triumph. I'm an optimist, its probably the reason I still do this job - it sure ain't the dinero

  11. #31
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Rob,
    This is kinda starting to bleed into a discussion here about the Powell-Weinberger Doctrine. They're not quite the same, but you might find some interesting stuff or have some ideas for that thread as well.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Hey Rob,

    You've posted a lot of interesting things and you've got my brain cooking away. Since I just came back from a PT run I will try and not fumble this response too badly.

    I agree w/you 100% about the benefits of liberal democracy (in whatever culturally appropriate form, Japanese and German democracies are just as different from American as Indian or Taiwanese or British versions) and free-market capitalism. I'm no Fukuyama booster, but it does strike me that some varied mix of these two elements make for the most stable, prosperous, and politically inclusive systems that humanity has invented yet.

    But what does this have to do with terrorism?

    Iraq is undoubtedly freer and more democratic than it was in Saddam's day, but violence and terrorism is far more prevalent. Terrorism can emerge as easily in wealthy, liberal democracies --- Timothy McVeigh, Japanese Red Army Faction, the 7/7 London bombers --- as in poverty-stricken dictatorships.

    Spreading democracy and capitalism is a worthy goal in itself, but it is not going to be a panacea for terrorism or political violence. Indeed, it may even spark it. System transition in even the best of circumstances is absolutely wrenching for much of the population. Former elites are thrown out of power with no guarantees. New elites often may lack skills and good judgement. No economy does well in an atmosphere of uncertainty. This is especially the case for those countries whose populations, while perhaps nationalistic, often have very weak attachments to the state --- Iraq is a prime example. Nigeria is another. In both places, democratic transition has spawned massive political/religious/ethnic violence and terrorism, as well as acceleration towards chaos.

    I think it is also necessary to decouple democracy and capitalism/development/economic growth. They do not necessarily go together, as the example of China shows well. Most of the East Asian First World economies became such under dictatorships or one-party states. Meanwhile free and democratic India languished for decades in slow-growth poverty; both Indians and Filipinos are far freer than mainland Chinese but are poorer and growing far less rapidly.

    My main point is that terrorism and political violence do not necessarily occur due to poverty or lack of freedom/democracy. Spreading both is a worthy cause, but it will not solve our terrorism problem and may, in the short term, make it far worse -- and since I'm something of a Keynesian, we're all dead in the long term.

  13. #33
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    I tend to think there are certain types of terrorism that form because of wealth and comfort. I'm thinking here of the various West German groups that came into being during the 1970s and 1980s. Most of the hard-core members came from middle-class backgrounds at least. In some cases there was an element of social guilt at play (why are we so well off while these other people suffer?) but there were other dynamics as well.

    It's an interesting question, though. Look at the environmental and anti-G8 activists. Many of them are wealthy, or at least come from comfortable backgrounds. Yet they are one of the prototype trans-national insurgencies (in my view) and have spawned a number of violent terrorist groups. All of them run off pretty brilliant decentralized networks with "group action" mentality and little in the way of an overt chain of command. Again, interesting stuff.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Hey Tequila, Hey Steve,

    Great points and a great discussion. I think one key difference in a democracy may be the pressures put on those groups from within - they are seen as criminals. A dictatorship at this point is subject to its own pressures-look at the pressures building in Pakistan, and Venezuela. A democracy of some flavor though is more likely to condemn the terrorist who operate within it or against it, and recognize the danger to the government which the people have invested for their benefit - unless that govt is no longer upholding its end of the bargain and is attempting to move toward dictatorship - at which point is it really a democracy anymore? If those people can't correct it through non-violent pressure, outside pressure, or a coup then they might turn toward terrorism or adopt insurgency themselves. For a democracy to take hold I think requires a commitment to resist, usually that is laid out in some form of balance of power in the government.

    While wealthy states have had their terrorist groups, did they have the resources to go global on a large scale? Did they really want to? How many ETA bubbas made it to D.C. to conduct operations? Because of either their goals or their resources they were more contained. How much support did they actually receive outside of states such as the Soviet Union and Libya? I agree there will always be some who feel that violence is their only option - even if they are born with privilege, and the economy and other opportunities in their country are among the best, but they are the exception I think, and they are not as viral as those which arise where there is no hope. How many McVeighs are there in the U.S. - more then we'd like, but how much instability are they likely to cause? How many McVeighs are inside the govt and law enforcement? Why are there not more? Will they ever topple the U.S. government, a state or even a local govt? Even though they will plan and execute heinous acts, will their political objectives ever be fulfilled? There will also be Columbine, and VA. tech like mass murders - but we also believe those are the aberrations of psychopathic individuals or small groups.

    I agree about being willing to pursue one thing and not the other. Freedom sort of leads you to wanting more freedom. China is an interesting example. I suspect that however it turns out it will not be how anybody thought it would - did you know that in sections of Beijing they are building Victorian Style mansions - it was in a National Geographic I think - it was so odd to look at this neighborhood that looked like it belonged in New England - that they can do that is a type of freedom of expression. I'm not saying the Chinese leadership is breaking out the Federalist Papers, but I am saying they are acknowledging that people must have a certain degree of freedom if you want a robust economy and to make use of their greatest resource - the Chinese Population. So absolutely - if a country is willing to involve itself in liberal trade, but is unsure about changing jerseys - I say we help them - as long as they are not simultaneously working to intimidate their neighbors.

    I think we all wish we'd done things a little different in Iraq, but nobody likes to admit that it might not have mattered if we'd done it perfect (or whatever we think perfect might be). It might just be that the violence they incurred during Saddam's reign is going to take years to shake out. Why is it that it took 4 years of incredible violence in the American Civil War before it was over? Inept Union Generalship? Took that long to grind them down? Or were the passions and causes (real and perceived) so strong and they just had to get tired of killing each other? Maybe all of them. It was the defining moment though in U.S. History - because we just had to know.

    The pressures in Iraq that were kept under the lid of the Saddam Ba'athism finally blew up. AQ sparked it sooner rather then later, but it may have went down anyway - but maybe different. Because Saddam liked Iraqis divided Iraq was denied the means to work its problems through political progression, then when he was gone suddenly (we fired him), it left a gaping hole - nobody filled it, maybe nobody could. Syria, Iran and AQ are certainly not helping as they pursue their own interests and further prevent the Iraqis from dealing with their own problems as Iraqis. Until a strong enough figure emerges to both pick up the leadership, but be able to hand it over to the next guy, Iraq will continue to be divided land and/or a dictatorship.

    I'm a long term guy - its just the way I think. Growth and transition are painful so if you are going to go to the trouble then it should be worth your resources. I don't think there are too many options - you can't contain it as is - it will leak out and come to visit you at home. We are not going to stay home either, so we will present ourselves abroad.

    Some places may not be ready, and as long as they are not imposing on others or conducting some form of resource blackmail which causes conflict (Michael Howard wrote the 3 main reasons states go to war are Interests, Fear and Honor/Prestige) maybe the best course is to just let them progress and to help their peoples in other ways - if they will allow it. If those states do use violence against a neighbor then somebody must decide what the fallout is and if its worth taking action - if someone does then you still have to deal with how to win the peace. Eventually though, those people of that state will assert themselves through some form of redress - you cannot keep the world out anymore, it is invasive and growing more so everyday. The world is growing smaller – kind of an oxymoron, but I think it describes the situation as one of inevitable pain – but how do we try and make it a smoother transition, or do we just hang on and ride?
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 06-09-2007 at 02:10 AM.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Rob, I guess that is a picture of you. Either way it is a lot better than the 2 naked guys.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Smile Phobias?

    Hey Slapout,
    I thought the 2 greek wrestlers would appeal to Crocket's pastel side and sockless loafers - My wife asked why I did not put a photo up of myself - the reason I had not before was we're an open community, it was pretty obvious where I was at and I did not want to provide a mug shot. The moustache is now gone - a victim of having 3 daughters who did not like it
    Its interesting - we talked about this once - how avatars and photos and such are symbols and influence perception. Its also interesting that the user can see it one way, but the audience can see it another way.

  17. #37
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Hi Rob, yea I know what you mean about perceptions. I told my wife I was getting a realy cool t-shirt from this guy I talk to on the computer. She looked over my shoulder and saw the avatar and then looked me rather strange for some reason I was looking for a cool picture of Steve McQeen from his Wanted Dead or Alive days as bounty hunter Josh Randall. I couldn't find one until after I put up Crockett. I found several all Black and White photos but they don't really show up that well so I went with Crockett. My wife chose a cartoon of a Tazmainian devil dressed as a police officer with his nightstick in one hand and a pair of handcuffs in the other(no I want be using that one)

    Send your shirt size for your Slapout CSI t-shirt. Later

    Here is a link to an article on the Mares leg sawed off winchester 92 he carried.
    http://www.mcqueenonline.com/gunsquarterlyarticle.htm
    Last edited by slapout9; 06-09-2007 at 01:05 PM. Reason: Add Link

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    I am not in favor of trying to bring liberal democracy to the rest of the world. Forcing any kind of political system on another state will never work in my limited opinion. Legitimate political change in 95% of the cases must come from bottom up, intra state efforts, not from top down, external efforts. There are exceptions such as Nazi Germany and Imperial Nippon, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

    Rob - your last paragraph is the crux of the matter:

    "Some places may not be ready, and as long as they are not imposing on others or conducting some form of resource blackmail which causes conflict (Michael Howard wrote the 3 main reasons states go to war are Interests, Fear and Honor/Prestige) maybe the best course is to just let them progress and to help their peoples in other ways - if they will allow it. If those states do use violence against a neighbor then somebody must decide what the fallout is and if its worth taking action - if someone does then you still have to deal with how to win the peace. Eventually though, those people of that state will assert themselves through some form of redress - you cannot keep the world out anymore, it is invasive and growing more so everyday. The world is growing smaller – kind of an oxymoron, but I think it describes the situation as one of inevitable pain – but how do we try and make it a smoother transition, or do we just hang on and ride?"

    Who are we to become the arbitrator of violence in the world? This is Wilsonian at best and Jacobin at worst.

    The world might be getting smaller, but it's also becoming more fragmented. The 2006 Failed States Index is an excellent look at how this phenomena is occuring. Also ask yourself if the US Military is involved in some way in the worst of these countries..you'll see a trend develop here. It's Barnett's Gap theory being instituted, which I think is a recipe for disaster in the long run.

    One thing will bring our aggressive foreign policy (which is both a hallmark of the last 30 years of both Republican and Democratic leadership in this country - they just differentiate between causes) to a grinding halt: the economy. If the economy ever tanks, like a mid-70's stagflation tank, then it will be impossible to support our military budget. One can easily make a case that we cannot support our military budget now considering the levels of foreign owned debt in the US.

    This is a tranistional period for the world. In the last 100 years, we've seen the death of two major politcal factions in the world - Communism and Imperialism/Colonialism - that have had huge geo-political impacts upon the planet. The map lines are literally being redrawn on an annual basis, and it's because of the deaths of Marxism and Imperialism that we are involved in most of the failed states in one form or another. We are trying to develop democracies and republics, which is noble, but it is expensive, demanding, and overall, will have a success/failure rate to be determined. We cannot state whether this will be worthwhile or not, but my gut tells me that the American people will only support this internationalist foreign policy when the country is either successful at war (perceptions drive the train here) or if the economy stays afloat.

    If wars go bad, or if the economy sours, all bets are off. We return to the days of inner reflection and internal demand. We take care of ourselves first. We have not experienced a really bad sustained economy since the late 80's, and we are past due on that cycle coming back around. Perhaps we are in a new world where we can temper or even avoid major economic downturns, but it would take some economist to explain why that is.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Not to switch gears too much in the thread, but I think its kind of an evolution. Is the way we have largely thought about the use of National Power in the past appropriate for today? We'll define Power as the elements of national power DIME and its ability to influence and shape events. Slapout or Steve (1st cup of coffee) had proposed on another thread changing the way we think of using force as necessary as well. Force has largely a kinetic connotation. Is the way we have thought of security appropriate, or does that need to change in light of globalization and its many issues?

    In my mind more and more issues are linked, and you can exhaust yourself stamping on the effects of the causes. How much effort should we reserve toward neutralizing or containing effects (conflict), and how much toward treating the causes (conflict prevention)?

    You see all sort of great threads, blogs and print about topics like force structure, Inter-Agency fixes etc, but you really cannot (or maybe should not) proceed to far down that line until you've decided why you are changing it and what you are going to do with it.

    9/11, Iraq, GWOT, Tsunamis, Pandemics, Global Warming, etc. - have all shaped this debate. It was not one in and of itself, it was the recognition that all these are related. I'm going to stray for a moment - Consider this site, with its accessibility to the International public. Look at who participates - we have a regular contributor who is a professor of anthropology ( Marc - you're citizenship and profession are what I'm looking for - when I tell folks I know this Canadian antrhopologist who had a great online idea - I get some interesting looks). I think open, decentralized organizations like the SWC are way out in front - they are cost free for most - you can assume an avatar and pseudonym if you like and discuss things in an open forum - I think this is useful and popular is also a reflection of the changing world - people are somewhat evaluated on their arguments and how they argue. It is a more neutral field - people can step outside the confines of their other responsibilities somewhat. It is the proliferation of ideas, made better by discourse and the ability to reach a sort of consensus, or at least acknowledgement.

    Why is that important? I think by showing the many different perspectives we can get our solutions to big problems (in our case about Power, Force, National Security, etc.) less wrong or more right. The problems facing us are so complex, and have so many side effects, that are accentuated by outside forces that we are recognizing the need to discuss them outside of our immediate circles.

    OK - back to the topic - I think this is an extension of the changing world. Unilateral solutions are fewer and farther between. The difference between the "justifiable Interest" rationale and the "morally defining" rationale for involvement are increasingly blurred since all of these problems are connected through globalization - Terror groups have global reach to an extent - they finance, communicate, plan, compare over the vast communication networks that fuel global economies. The identify, analyze and target remote populations of states that unable or unwilling to meet those populations needs, then they find similiar interests from all segments of those populations and work to destabilize them. It is in their interests to do so because it provides the conditions for furthering their own agendas - more crime and instability provides more revenue and forces states in favor of stabilty to exhaust resources. The enemy is pursuing a strategy of exhaustion. I think we can do a better job of making the forces of instability less relevant to the populations they target by going after the conditions which instability takes root.

    This is hard, hard work I think. I'm not sure we are organized for it optimally, but like many others I'm not sure we can get there with out sacrificing some abilities and interests either - there are no easy fixes. Everybody wants total certainty that a commitment to one course or the other is a way to go - but the only certainty available I'm aware of it the historical past - and after something passes into history it is done - all you can do is either toast it or lament it.
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 06-09-2007 at 01:33 PM.

  20. #40
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Hey Ski, glad you are on the thread

    If wars go bad, or if the economy sours, all bets are off. We return to the days of inner reflection and internal demand. We take care of ourselves first. We have not experienced a really bad sustained economy since the late 80's, and we are past due on that cycle coming back around. Perhaps we are in a new world where we can temper or even avoid major economic downturns, but it would take some economist to explain why that is.
    Man, I don't know - I think our economy is global. We sell, we consume, we provide services to a global audience. We have goods made all over the world, and many foreign companies make goods here to sell both here and abroad. We have trade agreements, partnerships, insourcing, out sourcing, off shoring arrangements, etc. that fuel our economy. We do research and development both at home and abroad. We are global.

    Why haven't we recruited and economist yet to SWC? Hey Marc - any Canadian economist you know who might want to contribute?

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