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Strategic Compression The compression of roles and effects. The Strategic Corporal meets the "turn left" National Security Advisor.

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Old 07-18-2012   #321
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Ain't it funny how you like the only two options that absolve you of responsibility for the issue?
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Old 07-18-2012   #322
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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
While the discussion of weapon bore's is fascinating, I noticed that no one answered these questions from a few pages back (though several took shots at each in the posts pror to my request):

What I find myself very frustrated with, however, are the following questions for my fellow Americans:

1. When did the Constitution become irrelevant?
To Congress, I think about 1802 -- been downhill ever since...

Congress, due to power of the purse, influences, generally adversely, everything else in the US Government -- including DoD, the US Army and USSOCOM.

The rest of the country doesn't think it's irrelevant but they sure do have about 200M interpretations of what it means; that's not irrelevance, that's disagreement on semantics and other things. The very expensive legal system exists to sort out those variations but its decisions are frequently watered down by the aforementioned Legislative body. We all hate it when others do not share our wisdom and see things our way -- but I'm afraid we're stuck with that.
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2. When did the Declaration of Independence become inconvenient?
To many but not all people when it suggests their desired behavior is inconsistent with its principles.
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3. When did the thinking of our historic leaders, such as Washington and Lincoln become "illegitimate"?
That's the easy one -- in 1960 when we began electing excessively venal persons to the Presidency and allowed them to hire sycophants and charlatans for 'advisors.' That also has been downhill ever since.

All the above are only slightly tongue in cheek, those answers are too close to absolute truth for comfort...
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To discount these things has become a ready arguement by those who seek to rationalize why America must engage the world in the manner it has adopted in recent years. I personally believe we are better served by tuning our current approaches to our former national doctrine than we are by tuning our former national doctrine to our current approaches, but I can't believe I am alone in that position.
You're not alone in the position. However, others may not totally share your view of precisely what "our former national doctrine" was and / or what "our current approaches" really are. Thus many, to include even some in positions of power may share your broad conclusions but differ over details and processes of implementation. To be repetitious thus boring without bores: "We all hate it when others do not share our wisdom and see things our way -- but I'm afraid we're stuck with that".
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Old 07-18-2012   #323
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Ain't it funny how you like the only two options that absolve you of responsibility for the issue?
Neither Steve nor I said the others weren't true; they are true to one extent or another -- but 3 and 4 drive those others. Thus what we wrote is correct, it just does not address the other factors. Mostly because they didn't merit a comment IMO...

Your response to our comments is interesting because your presumption of our dismissal of your wisdom and issuing a gratuitous pejorative comment speaks volumes -- not to mention that in any event, neither he nor I are remotely responsible for any of those things.
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Old 07-18-2012   #324
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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
I noticed that no one answered these questions from a few pages back (though several took shots at each in the posts prior to my request):
I don't believe there is some exact date, more like a slow chipping away. IMO opinion it started with the Wilson presidency and has continued on since then. But we have forgotten the purpose of the Constitution more than anything, we get hung up on this law,article or whatever instead of seeing the problem or situation through the lens of original purpose which is contained in the Preamble not the individual pieces.

In the preamble it establishes 6 core missions in order to accomplish the original purpose of America.
1-form a more perfect union
2-establish justice
3-insure domestic tranquility
4-provide for the common defense
5-promote the general welfare
6-secure the blessings of liberty for now and the future

Now explain to me how giving tax breaks to rich people and installing laws and treaties that make it possible to send jobs and technologies (paid for with tax dollars) overseas is constitutional. Under citizens united AQI or the Communist Chinese can form a PAC and give money to get people elected
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Old 07-18-2012   #325
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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Neither Steve nor I said the others weren't true; they are true to one extent or another -- but 3 and 4 drive those others. Thus what we wrote is correct, it just does not address the other factors. Mostly because they didn't merit a comment IMO...

Your response to our comments is interesting because your presumption of our dismissal of your wisdom and issuing a gratuitous pejorative comment speaks volumes -- not to mention that in any event, neither he nor I are remotely responsible for any of those things.
Hmm, "responsibility" was probably not the best choice of a word. How about "sharing the same defect"?


I had a couple moments lately where seemingly somewhat reasonable Americans wrote so extremely telling things that I am basically re-evaluating the idea that entire nations may have gone stupid.

SWC provided one of those moments, here.
The most obvious things, treated as wise (wo)man's valuable insights - a decade after it should have been self-evident to have those thoughts without a bloody multi-year experiment or even two.


I've become (even) more sceptical about the wisdom of people who write about national security-related topics in English. Too many of 'em have worked hard and long to erode my presumption their group's of intelligence.
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Old 07-18-2012   #326
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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Neither Steve nor I said the others weren't true; they are true to one extent or another -- but 3 and 4 drive those others. Thus what we wrote is correct, it just does not address the other factors. Mostly because they didn't merit a comment IMO...

Your response to our comments is interesting because your presumption of our dismissal of your wisdom and issuing a gratuitous pejorative comment speaks volumes -- not to mention that in any event, neither he nor I are remotely responsible for any of those things.
Correct. The other things existed before the large standing army, so have nothing directly to do with that standing army. 3 and 4 are the root causes for the large Army in American history (which is a recent creation...as in post 1945). You've stated before, Fuchs, that you're not an American history scholar, so that might explain why you don't see the impact of 3 and 4 on the normal size of ground forces in this country or how that relates to the traditional view of the military (in terms of size and status) within American society. As for the rest of your last post...
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Old 07-18-2012   #327
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Not sure that speed is all that important as I viewed the ships as being relatively fixed. You might want to consider the following map...with regard to AIR LOC. The physical geography hasn't changed much since the 1940s so these are probably the same routes to be used in a future West Pacific centered conflict.

BTW, I think your approach would require an AWACS or equivalent to provide your 787 with early warning and targeting vectors. Mine might be able to benefit from OTHR sites or something like the Cobra Judy to provide the early warning for targeting air threats. Costs a bunch to fly/maintain those AWACS, not so much for land or sea-based long range detection systems
WM:

That is a first class map. Nowadays you would have to add routes to and from Japan and Taiwan.

Why would an airborne missileer type airplane not be able to use cueing from ground based long range radars? I am not being argumentative (for once), I just don't see why they couldn't benefit.

The AWACS planes are going to be flying all the time all over anyway so I don't see that as something extra that would be needed. Maybe a big missileer could provide escort for that as well. It wouldn't need the tanker support fighters would require.

I think you might be able to get 20 knots in a container ship for free. The cursory reading I did on those ships seems to indicate that is around the base speed for those things. It wouldn't have to go that fast all the time but the speed would be very useful at times.

This kind of brainstorming is great fun, though I suspect people who actually know about these things are crossing their eyes in frustration at my ignorance.

This is turning into a heck of a discussion. We have WWII, high performance fighter tech, tank guns, Canadian Indians vis a vis the Canadian gov, French and British patterns of colonial administration, Dr. Strangelove, the changing political views of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence plus other things I forgot.

Good luck, David, with untangling this.
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Old 07-18-2012   #328
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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
To many but not all people when it suggests their desired behavior is inconsistent with its principles.
I like this combined with what Slap said about Wilson. A political philosophy has developed that sees "good government" as trumping the strictures of the founding documents. The problem of course is "good government" changes with the wind. There is no longer any recognition of the sin of pride anymore either. One of the founders, Adams I think, talked about how he had to fight that, not always successfully but at least he knew it was bad. There is no recognition that it exists let alone that it is bad anymore I think. If you don't recognize the sin of pride there is no internal brake on willfulness. Combine all this with the de-facto separation of the political classes from the rest of the citizenry and we have a rather large problem.

I hope I have explained this clearly. Probably not though.
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Old 07-19-2012   #329
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Have you forgotten, or do you choose to ignore, the place that deterrence has in this calculation? The point is not to prepare to counter any possible move a hypothetical antagonist might make, that is the way to insanity and bankruptcy. You have to ensure that the hypothetical antagonist has more to lose than to gain from starting anything.
Not at all. In fact that is what drives my opinion. Two of the things that make for a believable deterrent are having the tools and having the other guy believe that you will indeed use them if needed. Of course you can't counter any possible move, but to suggest that you should if fallacious. It is sort of a straw man and the fallacy of the false alternative rolled into one, counter everything or counter nothing. At least that is the way I am seeing you present it.

Your last sentence sort of implicitly contradicts that though because you say the antagonist must lose more than gained if there is a tussle. In order to do that you must make some decisions about what is most likely to happen and counter that. But some decisions must be made because you can't counter everything. If you try, you counter nothing and the antagonist sees that, hence, no deterrent.

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Do you propose to prepare for every conceivable eventuality, no matter how improbable? That's going to be quite a task, given the budgetary realities involved.
Obviously not. To suggest otherwise is to set up a straw man to be knocked down at your convenience.

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There would have to be a whole lot more, and a fairly rarefied chain of events that would offer numerous opportunities for preemption and intervention, for what you fear to come to pass.
That is your opinion. Mine differs. But at least you are talking about the future too.

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Of course there's a lot we don't know, though of course as well most of what we do know isn't going to be revealed. there's also a lot they don't know. They don't know, for example, how we might respond to a whole range of eventualities. They can't possibly know, because we don't even know. Strategic ambiguity is a useful thing.
Strategic ambiguity is a useful thing to a point. We left things ambiguous in Korea and Kuwait and things didn't work out so well. It is best to leave them pretty sure if they cross a line something will probably happen and there should be a clear line. Ambiguous maybe in how many of brick will fall on their heads but no doubt that they will fall.

I would bet that the chances of them knowing what is happening in the upper level of our gov and what the actual true mood of our people is, is a whole lot greater than our knowing that about them, the result of a relatively free vs a totalitarian state.

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The article previously referenced made the point that the performance of individual aircraft is only one part of what makes something effective: we don't do WW2-style dogfights any more.
They didn't so many WWII style dogfights in WWII. Most kills were lethal passes and were made against victims that never saw what killed them. Performance mattered. It matters as much as ever. The SR-71 is the classic example of that. All the fighters and SAMs that tried to get it ended up just watching it go by. The article referenced also seemed pretty darn sure that the Red Chinese will never do the other stuff. Being cocksure that the other guy can't, is unwise. Like the man said, "Well, don't you bet your life on it." (from the same movie as before.)

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I have seen nothing there about what we might do. I've seen a few references to things we might say, which looked to me unlikely to achieve any positive outcome. Saying isn't doing. In any event, making bold declarations about what we will or won't tolerate is not going to change any particular balance of force, except for the worse: belligerent talk on our side is likely to lead them to spend more faster, and it won't give us the capacity or the will to do the same.
Look harder. Bold declarations and belligerent declarations are part of the escalation of force continuam (sic). You don't go straight from passive inaction to wild violence. You work up to that. What you call belligerent talk I call warnings, especially when backed up by preparation.

You act as if they have no agency. Almost as if they are insects that just react to stimuli. I don't think that is true. They get scared just like everybody else.

I apologize for my crack about moving Guam 1000 miles east. I should have been more gentlemanly. My point was that even if we choose to fight as best we can where we have the greatest advantage, their are preexisting positions and things we have to defend. If we don't defend those positions, however difficult that is, we may end up losing anyway.
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Old 07-19-2012   #330
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Carl commented:
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Good luck, David, with untangling this.
Yes this thread has gone in so many directions I fear untangling it is impractical. To date I have only seen one point that deserves a separate thread, so may create that one day.

When a thread does this I prefer to copy posts to older appropriate threads.

Meantime my mother-in-law duties are calling, so off to support her. She rarely needs defending.
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Old 07-19-2012   #331
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On Fuch's list: A line of truth through all your points, but some are more symptomatic, than causal - a ride down the slippery slope if you will. Hard to sort out where these things begin, as the symptoms take a while to manifest. This is also why so much COIN targets symptoms rather than root causes. Both roots are deep in government action, and government counter action to fix government action that is harming the country tends to be hard for governments to do. As I tell people, "governments are made up of Politicians and bureaucrats - and politicians generally don't take responsibility for the negative effects of their actions, and bureaucrats seek to preserve the status quo. Makes change hard.

The existence of a large, war-fighting military (rather than an appropriate war-deterring/commerce supporting military) has indeed facilitated a shift of power to the executive. While I don't agree with many of her examples, her blaming of conservatives for this (liberal and conservative/ democrat-republican share equally), Rachael Maddow explores this important issue in her current book "Drift." But why do we think we need such a large military?

Go to the National Security Strategy to find that answer. Post-Cold War Republican and Democratic Presidencies have built and expanded a line of "logic" that it is a vital national interest of the US to "lead" the world and to spread US values (as currently defined in our populace and culture) and US-brand democracy to the rest of the world in order to preserve peace and make everyone better off.

Sounds nice, kind of like a big fuzzy stuffed bunny. That is nice - until someone is stuffing that big fuzzy bunny down your throat.

Over at DoD, an organization that I don't think has ever volunteered to get smaller, this is powerful specified rationale for maintaining a large military designed to execute these "bunny stuffing" missions around the globe. To do otherwise would be to disobey a direct order from the President. So they hold themselves harmless in this debate. (Though I cannot think of a more powerful statement, or an act that could do more to put American back on track to being a safer, stronger, more secure enterprise than for the SecDef and the Chairman to appear before a joint session of the Congress and return a check for $ 1 Trillion Dollars, demanding that Congress make equal cuts across the budget, to include social programs. This would make the military even more respected by the populace and would shame the Congress and Presidency to action)

So how do we fix this? Take Washington's final farewell address. The US was not "isolationist" under Washingtonian vision, we engaged the world in our commerce and were an example to the world in our quest for personal liberty and liberal governance. We simply did not believe it was healthy to go about getting caught up in the political affairs of a system of permanent "friend" and "enemies" - better to attempt to stay healthy with all and seek opportunities to advance our own interests rather than go about seeking to support or deny the interests of others.

Then take our current National Security Strategy. Go through the NSS and strike everything that is not consistent with Washington's address. Then take everything that was stricken and seriously ask "do we really need this"? The answer will be "no" in most cases. Delete those sections.

Next, review all of our treaties, roles in organizations, polices for diplomacy, size and design of our military, etc and re-tune all to reflect this new, less intrusive approach. New treaties and new organizational roles will become necessary. Design and Implement those things.

We would need a bold, visionary leader to make such changes. But one who is also humble and willing to allow others to act and think differently than he does and simply be "different" and not "wrong" for doing so. Where is such a leadrer??

The world will continue to get smaller, we will all continue to become more interconnected, but how we approach those changes would become far more tolerable to those around us, less provocative of state and popular violence against the US and our interests, and in no way downgrade the "leadership" of the US. It would just make us more of the type of leader we all like to follow, rather than those leaders we were forced to follow against our will.
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Old 07-19-2012   #332
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Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
I don't believe there is some exact date, more like a slow chipping away. IMO opinion it started with the Wilson presidency and has continued on since then. But we have forgotten the purpose of the Constitution more than anything, we get hung up on this law,article or whatever instead of seeing the problem or situation through the lens of original purpose which is contained in the Preamble not the individual pieces.

In the preamble it establishes 6 core missions in order to accomplish the original purpose of America.
1-form a more perfect union
2-establish justice
3-insure domestic tranquility
4-provide for the common defense
5-promote the general welfare
6-secure the blessings of liberty for now and the future
Concur with this. In fact I wrote pretty much the same thing way back at post 60 of this thread when I characterized the Declaration and Constitution as basicly an Op Plan for establishing the US government with the Preamble being the Mission statement for that operation.
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Originally Posted by WM
I like to view the two framing documents as something like an operations order for Operation USA. The Declaration of Independence is Paragraph 1 of that Op Order: Situation. A significant (and I think greatly overlooked) piece of the Constitution is its Preamble. I view this as the Mission statement for Operation USA. The remainder of the basic document constitute the opord's remaining three paragraphs while the various amendments serve as fragos that modify the operation due to changes in the situation. The various laws of the US Code might well be viewed as the various specialized Annexes that turn most opords into such ponderous works.

If you like this analogy, then reflect that never has the Preamble been modified. In other words, we the people of the United States still have a mission to "form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Doing that is what "supporting and defending the Constition" meant to me when I took my oath and is what that phrase still means to me today.
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Old 07-19-2012   #333
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That is a first class map. Nowadays you would have to add routes to and from Japan and Taiwan.
Generally I worry about the use of an air bridge as the primary means of supplying a major conflict. Additionally, the air routes to Korea (which you didn't mention), Taiwan/Formosa and the Japanese Archipelago could be threatened by potential opposition land-and sea-based IADS. So without having first won the SEAD campaign, I'd worry about aerial strategic resupply that far forward.

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Why would an airborne missileer type airplane not be able to use cueing from ground based long range radars? I am not being argumentative (for once), I just don't see why they couldn't benefit. The AWACS planes are going to be flying all the time all over anyway so I don't see that as something extra that would be needed. Maybe a big missileer could provide escort for that as well. It wouldn't need the tanker support fighters would require.
Didn't say they couldn't, but they would still need a controller (Airborne Warning and Control System, remember), the other function that the AWACS provides to airborne assets.

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I think you might be able to get 20 knots in a container ship for free. The cursory reading I did on those ships seems to indicate that is around the base speed for those things. It wouldn't have to go that fast all the time but the speed would be very useful at times.
I don't see speed for such a platform as a key performance parameter, more as a nice to have.
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Old 07-19-2012   #334
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Concur with this. In fact I wrote pretty much the same thing way back at post 60 of this thread when I characterized the Declaration and Constitution as basically an Op Plan for establishing the US government with the Preamble being the Mission statement for that operation.
Yes, I have posted it before on other threads, but what I like about your version is viewing it as an Op Plan (of course to me it is a system)which is what it is but is not generally taught that way. There is to much focus on it being a supreme legal document as opposed to it being a plan!! And how it can be useful to accomplishing our purpose as a nation.
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Old 07-19-2012   #335
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of course but this is an excellent video on how we(USA) got this way. It was made in 1965 for NBC television with reporter John Chancellor, also has various CIA heads and former heads and Congressman Eugene McCarthy.
The whole thing is about modern adaption of the Constitution, Morals and War against Invisible Governments without involving Congress. Decision making by the CIA and the Executive branch alone. It drags in places but it is quite a history lesson.

Link to "The Science Of Spying" 1965 NBC Special with reporter John Chancellor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi710...eature=related

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Old 07-20-2012   #336
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Generally I worry about the use of an air bridge as the primary means of supplying a major conflict. Additionally, the air routes to Korea (which you didn't mention), Taiwan/Formosa and the Japanese Archipelago could be threatened by potential opposition land-and sea-based IADS. So without having first won the SEAD campaign, I'd worry about aerial strategic resupply that far forward.
Good point about the various air routes. It is an intrinsic part of our way of working which is one reason I think those big planes are so critical.

You reminded me of something. We don't have very many shipyards. If something like this ever got started, please God don't let it, a lot of ships would be sunk and need to be replaced. They may be able to do that more easily than we.

I thought about mentioning Korea but let it go for the reason you said, airplanes might be too easy to stop and you would be better off with lots of small ships making the passage.
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Old 07-20-2012   #337
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Originally Posted by carl View Post
Not at all. In fact that is what drives my opinion. Two of the things that make for a believable deterrent are having the tools and having the other guy believe that you will indeed use them if needed. Of course you can't counter any possible move, but to suggest that you should if fallacious. It is sort of a straw man and the fallacy of the false alternative rolled into one, counter everything or counter nothing. At least that is the way I am seeing you present it.

Your last sentence sort of implicitly contradicts that though because you say the antagonist must lose more than gained if there is a tussle. In order to do that you must make some decisions about what is most likely to happen and counter that. But some decisions must be made because you can't counter everything. If you try, you counter nothing and the antagonist sees that, hence, no deterrent.
The point is that you're focusing entirely on countering what they might, in a very improbable situation, do to us. Deterrence is more about what you can do to the other guy. If you're threatening my hand with a knife and I have a shotgun in your crotch, the core of the issue isn't your knife, and I don't need to be shopping for a kevlar glove. The shotgun is what makes the difference.

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That is your opinion. Mine differs. But at least you are talking about the future too.
I think what you miss is that like the Cold War, and hypothetical conflict between the US and China is almost certainly going to be fought by proxy, through influence, and at a low, drawn-out level. Mutual Assured Destruction is a strong deterrent to large scale open conflict, on both sides.

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Strategic ambiguity is a useful thing to a point. We left things ambiguous in Korea and Kuwait and things didn't work out so well. It is best to leave them pretty sure if they cross a line something will probably happen and there should be a clear line. Ambiguous maybe in how many of brick will fall on their heads but no doubt that they will fall.
We're not in a position to draw meaningful long-term lines, because everybody knows the lines change every 4 years. Ambiguity is what we've got, even to ourselves. It's built into our system. Might as well make the most of it.

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The article referenced also seemed pretty darn sure that the Red Chinese will never do the other stuff. Being cocksure that the other guy can't, is unwise.
I read it as a suggestion that the enormous amount of money that would be spent on entirely new aircraft designs would be better spent on maintaining and extending the advantage we have on "the other stuff". That makes sense to me, especially given the reality of limited resources. I also doubt that the F35 is as bad as its detractors say, or as good as it's proponents say. Nothing ever is.

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Originally Posted by carl View Post
Look harder. Bold declarations and belligerent declarations are part of the escalation of force continuam (sic). You don't go straight from passive inaction to wild violence. You work up to that. What you call belligerent talk I call warnings, especially when backed up by preparation.
I just can't see what, on a specific level, such talk would achieve. What is certain is that we'd hand a significant propaganda and political advantage to the most militarist factions in China, give their military a step up in the domestic power struggles, and probably cause an increase in military spending on their side. How does that help us? They would also have to make a belligerent and assertive response. No choice there, they can't let themselves look weak, so they'd have to rattle their saber right back. Then we have to choose between rattling ours louder or backing down. How does it help us to go down that road?

Not even mentioning that the idea of lordly Americans drawing lines in the sand and telling others what they may and may not do doesn't resonate well with much of the world, even those who are in no way enchanted with China. Our little venture in Iraq didn't improve our position in that regard.

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You act as if they have no agency. Almost as if they are insects that just react to stimuli. I don't think that is true. They get scared just like everybody else.
Scared people do dumb things. Often they do dumb aggressive things. How is that helpful?

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I apologize for my crack about moving Guam 1000 miles east. I should have been more gentlemanly. My point was that even if we choose to fight as best we can where we have the greatest advantage, their are preexisting positions and things we have to defend. If we don't defend those positions, however difficult that is, we may end up losing anyway.
Even if you could move Guan 1000 miles east, what good would it do you? Who says you have to fight over Guam?

In the very unlikely event of outright war with China, the key would be to target their vulnerability. That's not on our west coast: sure, they do a lot of business with the US and Canada and cutting that business off would hurt them very badly, but we don't need military force to do that. Their key vulnerability lies in their access to the merchandise exports and commodity imports that sustain their economic growth, which in turn allows them to maintain domestic order. Dominating the Indian Ocean and the Middle East is more important to our position re China than dominating the western Pacific.
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Old 07-20-2012   #338
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The point is that you're focusing entirely on countering what they might, in a very improbable situation, do to us. Deterrence is more about what you can do to the other guy. If you're threatening my hand with a knife and I have a shotgun in your crotch, the core of the issue isn't your knife, and I don't need to be shopping for a kevlar glove. The shotgun is what makes the difference.
It is prudent to be aware of what the other guy might do to you, otherwise you tend to get surprised. Being surprised is bad. Deterrence is about what the other guy is pretty sure you can do to him. If he thinks he can surprise you, and he will if you don't figure what he can possible do to you, he will figure that his surprise will vitiate your power and there goes your deterrence. Also generally doing to him means doing it with something. If you don't have the tools, you can't deter. Like having that shotgun. If you ain't got the shotgun and just stick your finger gun in the other guys crotch, they will arrest you for being a pervert after you get out of the hospital. So I would like to have things in place to deter the Red Chinese, even if it does make them cross.

I would advise not actually placing the muzzle of the weapon against the opponents body in most cases. If he has practiced he will disarm you or turn the muzzle away from his body before you can react. Then if he has a knife he will cut and maybe kill you. Better to stand some feet back.

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I think what you miss is that like the Cold War, and hypothetical conflict between the US and China is almost certainly going to be fought by proxy, through influence, and at a low, drawn-out level. Mutual Assured Destruction is a strong deterrent to large scale open conflict, on both sides.
What if it doesn't? Then what? And doesn't being prepared for the eventuality help keep it from happening, like in the Cold War?

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We're not in a position to draw meaningful long-term lines, because everybody knows the lines change every 4 years. Ambiguity is what we've got, even to ourselves. It's built into our system. Might as well make the most of it.
We have drawn meaningful long term lines vis a vis Japan since the end of WWII and Taiwan since not too long after that. We have drawn a meaningful long term line about freedom of navigation, in cooperation with the Royal Navy, for much longer than that. I think you are wrong.

Ambiguity is mostly a recipe for uncertainty and that makes conflict more likely. It has its uses to a point though.

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I read it as a suggestion that the enormous amount of money that would be spent on entirely new aircraft designs would be better spent on maintaining and extending the advantage we have on "the other stuff". That makes sense to me, especially given the reality of limited resources. I also doubt that the F35 is as bad as its detractors say, or as good as it's proponents say. Nothing ever is.
Oh. I read it different.

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I just can't see what, on a specific level, such talk would achieve. What is certain is that we'd hand a significant propaganda and political advantage to the most militarist factions in China, give their military a step up in the domestic power struggles, and probably cause an increase in military spending on their side. How does that help us? They would also have to make a belligerent and assertive response. No choice there, they can't let themselves look weak, so they'd have to rattle their saber right back. Then we have to choose between rattling ours louder or backing down. How does it help us to go down that road?
I don't buy that the Red Chinese propagandists are dependent upon the Americans saying the wrong thing then whoa! watch out all hell will break loose. Nor do I believe that their is some kind of domestic power struggle between the mean aggressive Red Chines military and the peace loving Party in which what the Americans say this week is going to tip the balance.

But it was a beautifully crafted straw man you constructed and it must have been fun to knock him down.

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Not even mentioning that the idea of lordly Americans drawing lines in the sand and telling others what they may and may not do doesn't resonate well with much of the world, even those who are in no way enchanted with China. Our little venture in Iraq didn't improve our position in that regard.
Ah yes, that old reliable "you arrogant Americans, now nobody likes you!" argument.

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Scared people do dumb things. Often they do dumb aggressive things. How is that helpful?
You know how when you played crack the whip, the kid on the end went flying off? The same thing happens with extremely tangential responses and I'm the kid on the end.

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Even if you could move Guan 1000 miles east, what good would it do you? Who says you have to fight over Guam?

In the very unlikely event of outright war with China, the key would be to target their vulnerability. That's not on our west coast: sure, they do a lot of business with the US and Canada and cutting that business off would hurt them very badly, but we don't need military force to do that. Their key vulnerability lies in their access to the merchandise exports and commodity imports that sustain their economic growth, which in turn allows them to maintain domestic order. Dominating the Indian Ocean and the Middle East is more important to our position re China than dominating the western Pacific.
I am a very dense fellow and it took me awhile to get there, but this response brought me to the final destination. If there was a war between the US and Red China, please God don't ever let that come to pass, it wouldn't matter much what the US wanted to do in some cases. We would have to react to what the Red Chinese did in addition to our preferred courses of action. All those air log routes would be vulnerable to interdiction and would have to be defended even if we preferred to swan about in the Indian Ocean until they cried Uncle. This has been pointed out repeatedly but you just won't acknowledge it. I only just realized that. Not such a great destination considering how long it took to get there.
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Old 07-22-2012   #339
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It is prudent to be aware of what the other guy might do to you, otherwise you tend to get surprised. Being surprised is bad. Deterrence is about what the other guy is pretty sure you can do to him. If he thinks he can surprise you, and he will if you don't figure what he can possible do to you, he will figure that his surprise will vitiate your power and there goes your deterrence. Also generally doing to him means doing it with something. If you don't have the tools, you can't deter.
Are you suggesting that we don't have the tools to interdict the vast majority of Chinese merchandise exports and commodity imports without ever coming within their effective military range?

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What if it doesn't? Then what? And doesn't being prepared for the eventuality help keep it from happening, like in the Cold War?
If it doesn't you make do with what you've got, which happens to be the best-funded military force in the world by a substantial margin, and which has regional allies with substantial capacity of their own. Look at the actual balance of military power. Add Japan, Korea, Taiwan and look again. Do you suggest that this equation invites Chinese aggression? Not even mentioning that the status quo is being reasonably kind to them and they've little reason to rock the boat.

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We have drawn meaningful long term lines vis a vis Japan since the end of WWII and Taiwan since not too long after that. We have drawn a meaningful long term line about freedom of navigation, in cooperation with the Royal Navy, for much longer than that. I think you are wrong.

Ambiguity is mostly a recipe for uncertainty and that makes conflict more likely. It has its uses to a point though.
Those lines have always been to an extent ambiguous, as the Somali pirates well know. There's never any way to be certain of what level of infringement will draw a response. There really can't be a way, because what is needed to draw a response is a factor of domestic politics and even we can't predict those. The specific threats you want us to make are meaningless in any lasting sense; they accomplish nothing and can easily become a liability... which of course is why they won't be made, regardless of what we say here.

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I don't buy that the Red Chinese propagandists are dependent upon the Americans saying the wrong thing then whoa! watch out all hell will break loose. Nor do I believe that their is some kind of domestic power struggle between the mean aggressive Red Chines military and the peace loving Party in which what the Americans say this week is going to tip the balance.
Not dependent, but any propaganda weapon we hand them will be used to the fullest. What have we to gain from handing them such weapons?

There are certainly domestic power struggles within China... not necessarily between anyone you'd classify as good guys or bad guys, but some are more compatible with our interests than others.

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Ah yes, that old reliable "you arrogant Americans, now nobody likes you!" argument.
It's not an argument, it's a real-world perception that we have to deal with when we go about trying to rally allies, build coalitions, impose economic sanctions, etc.
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