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Thread: Steve Metz has published a valuable article.

  1. #21
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post

    4. In the case where the host nation is sorely incompetent and incapable of governing, but their actions interfere with our national security, then we have many diplomatic options to deter. If those fail, then we have counter-terrorism and unconventional warfare as a last resort. However, I will submit that we should think like a bank. If someone forecloses on a mortgage and the bank reposses the house, the bank feels no moral obligation to find another home for the defaulter. In the same sense, if we conduct regime change, we should feel no obligation to follow up with nation-building. The "you break it, you buy it" theory is incorrect.


    v/r

    Mike

    Mike, I should have known you would have figured it out I thought Entropy or Schmedlap or Tom Odom was going to but what you just proposed is the heart of SBW. And I stole that from history, there was a guy named Hammehead Charles or Charles the Hammerhead or something like that???(maybe someone here knows who I mean) that just flat out whooped ass on the Muslims and made a bunch of money to boot. To me that is the key. A system should become STRONGER because of actions not weaker!

  2. #22
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    The "you break it, you buy it" theory is incorrect
    True.

    The real rule reads:
    "You committed not to break anything by signing the UN Charter that btw gives you huge privileges, so don't break anything!"


    Another rule reads:
    "You may break things and not buy them. All shop owners are free to treat you accordingly."

  3. #23
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MikeF

    4. In the case where the host nation is sorely incompetent and incapable of governing, but their actions interfere with our national security, then we have many diplomatic options to deter. If those fail, then we have counter-terrorism and unconventional warfare as a last resort. However, I will submit that we should think like a bank. If someone forecloses on a mortgage and the bank reposses the house, the bank feels no moral obligation to find another home for the defaulter. In the same sense, if we conduct regime change, we should feel no obligation to follow up with nation-building. The "you break it, you buy it" theory is incorrect.


    v/r

    Mike
    There may be cases where the abscence of an authority (after we've disposed of an authority / predecessor) or governance may be tolerable, even preferable given the cost of replacing it- but in the same vein - we also may also live with the consequences of leaving a vacuum - sometimes, it may result in a bigger mess down the road.

    That said, I'm not sure logic and pragmatism are even listed as immediate family, let alone next of kin to politics.

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    Wilf's comment holds the key:

    "As far as I can see the "New COIN" and the Stabilisation strategy in general backs you into a place where you want to act Colonial, but not actually be Colonial.

    Let's be honest. This is all about forcing countries to adopt policies acceptable to the Government of the US. - I have no problem with that, if that is what you want to do, but it does require behaviour that means your civilians tell their civilians what to do, - and if they do not do it, then there are definite consequences.
    First, we are dancing around the issue of control: Are we there to sieze power and direct/redirect it to some purpose, and if so, how?

    What exactly is our civilian purpose, basis, theory beyond military dominance? Is it just "expeditionary" in nature? Is it intentionally suppressive? Is it just to provide post-conflict stabilization, and minimal reconstruction, or to tinker with or expressly and substantively change the society and it's structures, operations and organizational principles

    Second, do we have the resources and capability to sieze civilian power and direct/redirect it? Based on our history and effectiveness in Iraq and Afghanistan (to date), there is no evidence that we do, or that, at best, once we get the ball, we flub it..

    Third, what are we directing/redirecting it to? In both countries, our big thrust was to create a new constitution, push for elections, then deal with the aftermath of those elections. Note that the Iraqi election are, due to list questions and Kurdish issues, on path to be, perhaps as contentious as the 2005 elections. If Iraq's ability to organize and complete a democratic election is still a "work in progress," what to make of Afghanistan's abilities?

    If our purpose, once in occupation, was to actually effect a colonial administration, or dominate the civilian sector, we needed to provide civilian administartive and operational resources of a totally different type than we have.

    By definition, an "expeditionary" civilian force is temporary, short-term, and, if staffed only by loaners from US national agencies, could not be expected to have the KSA's adequate for Colonial administration of an actual country, let alone a district.

    Foreign service officers are trained for specific tasks, and administration/operation of civilian governments is not one of them. Diplomacy's limits do not reach into public administration, infrastructure repair and management, or the operation of essential services. Nor, in my view, should/could they.

    The civilian resources needed for that are completely different, and are not contained within any permanent military or civilian framework we have applied to date.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Ofthetroops recommendation that if troops in the field are going to be tasked for civilian missions (as they are), they should be provided with a framework and training to do a decent job off it.

    But, right now, we have the worst of all worlds, and the results are inevitable. Foreign service officers without expertise in civilian administration being pressed into the mission of civilian administration and serious reconstruction and essential service problems, but only on a year-to-year assignment basis (next year, they will be stamping passports in Paris). Soldiers left on the ground to develop ad hoc solutions for immediate and serious problems they see on the ground, but with no training or support framework.

    No offense, but what Steve Metz wrote was:

    The problem, though, is bigger than Afghanistan. Much bigger. The foundation of current American security policy is stabilizing countries where extremists can use insurgency and other forms of violence to create terrorist sanctuaries. To be effective, this requires extensive assistance and large numbers of advisers with expertise in infrastructure development, financial and economic planning, education, governance, the cultivation of civil society, and law enforcement. Yet, after five years of speeches, workshops, and reports, we are no closer to having what we need.
    The infrastructure development, financial and economic planning, education, etc... resources in Iraq's "civilian surge" were all temporary appointees on one-year assignments. They came, they went---and not to Afghanistan. And they were never properly integrated into the program to maximize their potential effectiveness.

    If the US was serious about the civilian side, it would abandon the "expeditionary" and temporary staffing models for these folks, and create a structure that was, first, built around the credible expertise, and second, able to engage the situation and resources (even if soldiers on the ground), to achieve short, medium and long-term goals based on some reasoned expectations of what could be achieved in the civilian world.

    Military or foreign policy folks set the civilian objectives, but implementation requires a completely different structure, staffing and resources than exists today. That dream team is just a dream.

    My two cents.

    Steve
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-20-2009 at 04:31 PM. Reason: Add quote marks

  5. #25
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Steve, good food for thought

    ... but implementation requires a completely different structure, staffing and resources ....
    Kind of reminds me of that addage - "How bad do you want it?"

  6. #26
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    ...

    First, ...

    Second, ...

    Third, ...
    Fourth (actually, First, but the forum knows no strike text):
    IS IT WORTH IT?


    Be prepared to see me hammering this into your heads in 2009-2010.
    Resistance is futile. All strategic thought needs to keep the nation's welfare at top priority. Soldiers are merely paid servants to the nation (and usually at the same time citizens, of course).

    Resources and capabilities are fine - it's not fine to release them just because you can.



    @Steve; don't be offended, please. I know #4 may have been part of your #1 behind two or three corners. It just deserves to be in the spotlight imo.
    Last edited by Fuchs; 10-20-2009 at 04:11 PM. Reason: typo

  7. #27
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    There may be cases where the abscence of an authority (after we've disposed of an authority / predecessor) or governance may be tolerable, even preferable given the cost of replacing it- but in the same vein - we also may also live with the consequences of leaving a vacuum - sometimes, it may result in a bigger mess down the road.

    That said, I'm not sure logic and pragmatism are even listed as immediate family, let alone next of kin to politics.
    Rob, we don't have to leave a vacum we could redraw the boundries and annex it to surrounding countries or what ever we want. Which is really the whole problem we keep trying to satisfy everybody else but America. We should flat out make a statement that to support any Terrorist action against our country will cost you your life and your money. They started it we didn't.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-20-2009 at 04:33 PM. Reason: Add two 'r' to words.

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    Fuchs

    Fourth (actually, First, but the forum knows to strike text):
    IS IT WORTH IT?

    EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!


    Steve

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    Slapout9:

    Rob, we don't have to leave a vacum we could redraw the boundries and annex it to surrounding countries or what ever we want
    A lot more to that than meets the eye.

    If current trends of regional disparities and distinctions were carried into the future in Afghanistan (ie, expanding a Tajik/Uzbek national army to suppress Pashtun districts, north and west desires for natural resource exploitation & industrialization, election split), there may come a time when the "bounds" of Afghan interests are, of themselves, broken.

    Steve
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-20-2009 at 04:34 PM. Reason: Quote marks

  10. #30
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post

    If current trends of regional disparities and distinctions were carried into the future in Afghanistan (ie, expanding a Tajik/Uzbek national army to suppress Pashtun districts, north and west desires for natural resource exploitation & industrialization, election split), there may come a time when the "bounds" of Afghan interests are, of themselves, broken.

    Steve
    To me that is not a problem but a great opportunity. You should to, somebody would most likely hire you to come in and write them a plan

  11. #31
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Agree with Steve - its got to stand up to the FAS (Feasible, Acceptable and Suitable) test - which gets to Steve's otehr point about implementation. What often looks like a easy win, is often more complicated. Even when there is an appetite to govern - its sometime more like the folks with alligator mouths and hummingbird rear ends.

    Annexation in itself has a slew of problems, as do other options like just continuing to go back and pour gasoline on new fire ant colonies. I'm not ruling out any option - rather I'm saying it should be weighed, and considered not only in the short, but the long run.

    I have no reason to beleive it will be. I'm more inclined to agree with Old Eagle that its important we retain the capability to do the range of things we will surely be asked/told to go do, because what is strategically wise is often at odds with getting and staying elected, or with pursuit of other ideal objectives (foreign and domestic). I have every ounce of faith that at some time in the future, as in the past, an elected leader will ask us to go do something to which we are ill suited. We (or they), may know we are ill suited, but we (or they) may not as well. It will not matter - we will get the mission. Its also likely that said mission will not be the one that was anticipated, and occurred as a result of mission creep brought on by a change in perspective influenced by politics.

    To top it off we are often a bit schizo when it comes to ensuring we are prepared to do the undesired.

    Best, Rob

  12. #32
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default You don't have to break anything -- just put a slight dent

    in the appropriate skulls if violence is the answer -- it does not have to be regime removal or anything requiring a rebuild.

    Fuchs has a good point about the UN Charter. Unfortunately, that Charter did not envision non-state actors who could and would challenge States. Getting revisions to that Charter would be virtually impossible due to penis envy so the world would just have to accept that SBW is the way to go...

  13. #33
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    Default Old times return

    Good to know that SBW is in fact using the perennial device of 'Divide and Rule'. Actually once borders were established in those wicked Imperial days they rarely changed; ironically Europe has seen more border changes of late than other places.

    Plus as JMM has shown in maps of Afghan ethnicity there are large areas where it is a mixture.

    Instead of contemplating a new 'Line' let us just leave well alone. The Afghans will have their own concept of boundaries and I'd speculate it will be like that in NWFP lowlanders -v- hill tribes.

    Meantime good to see Fuchs has returned with his "hammering".

    davidbfpo

  14. #34
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default That's true -- to an extent...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    Agree with Steve - its got to stand up to the FAS (Feasible, Acceptable and Suitable) test...
    That's desirable but gets overtaken by the item that is true:
    I'm more inclined to agree with Old Eagle that its important we retain the capability to do the range of things we will surely be asked/told to go do...
    All very true. I'd add two things. We cannot now do all the things we might be told to do; we have deliberately avoided strategic raid capability and a few other options -- we need to be prepared to do more than we were able to do prior to 2001 and we need to be able to offer those options rather than the sole option we thought we had at that time.

    The Politicians will ask us to strange things and we should be prepared to do most of them in some fashion. We have been our own worst enemy with our inherent inflexibility -- we became a one trick pony and are paying for it. We attempted to influence national policy with military policy (The Weinberger and Powell Doctrines) and that was never going to work. Accepting what you say, Rob, is imperative -- and being able to offer a number of options including 'do nothing' to the deciders is truly vital in the strict sense of the word.

  15. #35
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    Agree with Steve - its got to stand up to the FAS (Feasible, Acceptable and Suitable) test - which gets to Steve's otehr point about implementation. What often looks like a easy win, is often more complicated. Even when there is an appetite to govern - its sometime more like the folks with alligator mouths and hummingbird rear ends.

    Best, Rob
    Rob, I think FAS should= Profitable! Also there is nothing easy about fighting but it is necessary. There is nothing so weak as a Police Officer that looks like he is prepared to fight but want...... or the worlds most powerful nation that it is AFRAID to use it's power to protect it's own citizens. it invites people to attack our hummingbird butt. When America understands that we will finally find respect in the world instead of trying to be friends with alligators.

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    Default Where will all those civilians come from?

    there are not too many options.

    a. reinstitue draft
    b. pay them a higher or equivavalent of their civilan income

    I don't see it happening anytime soon. Cuz' then the soldiers earnings has to be raised too.

    MikeF
    Naw, Wilf. The American Empire just practices a unique brand that I'll call politically-correct colonialism. We really shouldn't be in the Empire business. We're much better off when we don't meddle into others affairs.


    Luckily/unfortunately -I can't decide- the days of good ol' isolationism are gone.
    Nihil sub sole novum.

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    b. pay them a higher or equivavalent of their civilan income
    Isn't that essentially the contracting work that goes on now?

    zenpundit tackled the problem Metz outlines in his article pretty well, from a US point of view.

  18. #38
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrsaMaior View Post
    Luckily/unfortunately -I can't decide- the days of good ol' isolationism are gone.
    UM- I didn't mean to imply isolationism. See the rest of my comments. I realize that we're engaged. I'm just trying to frame the role that we should play- negotiator, banker, dealer, arbitrator. Call it what you want just don't call it COIN.

    The foundations of our society in governance and economics premise on the notions of self-determination, self-reliance, and free-will. We shouldn't be suprised when others don't do what they're told b/c we try to force our will on them. However, things like FID and Greg Mortensen's venture work in small incriments as we help others help themselves.

    Slap- when is SBW gonna be published??? Clausewitz stalled so long that his wife had to finish the book.

    v/r

    Mike

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    Self-determination, self-reliance and free will encompasses a lot of options.

    One theory for low US election participation (especially at the local level) is "voting by feet." People in the US usually move to places that share their views, attitudes, and, for example, tax tolerance and school quality/commitment. Since most of that is resolved by their location, there is no need to actively vote/participate in government activities.

    Besides, most of us (by lineage) fled some other dastardly place or condition (Ireland during the famines, Eastern Europe during the pogroms, etc...), so why is the blue thumb the only relevant metric?

    The flows of refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan sure suggest that the time-honored tradition of voting with feet is alive and well there, as is the reality that most humans, as in Pakistan, rapidly flee before exposing their family to the hazards of conflict between, say, a government army and the Taliban.

    Two options if the Taliban came to power in Kabul. One, all Afghans can succumb to them, or, two, they can chnge it by either driving them out, or fleeing as refugees.

    Why is it not an option to leave Kabul to the Taliban, then (as before), back their opponents who will keep them in continual fighting just to hold minimal power?

    Otherwise, if we protect "the people" from the Taliban, they have no reason, apparently, to make major commitments of life and treasure (what treasure they may have) to help us do it. No?

    That is one of the arguments heard re: Afghan national corruption. Since we are only going to be there for a short time, after which the sky will fall (for some), they need to grab as much as they can as quickly as possible???!!!

    Paradoxes, but like Rob argues: Ours is not to question why....

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