SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Conflicts -- Current & Future > Other U.S. GWOT > Catch-All, GWOT

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-07-2012   #101
jmm99
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,021
Default wm:

This one is simply not correct - cuz of inclusion of "within":

Quote:
Certainly, because one cannot wage war within/against one's own country. How odd does this sound? "Today the President of the United States requested that the Senate ratify his declaration of war against his own country."
assigning a notional meaning of "engage in an armed conflict" to "wage war" - since some here apparently see "war" as a much more violent conflict than a "fight".

E.g., the US Civil War (part of much larger sequence of military struggles and political struggles from before the Revoution to the present - a much too huge topic to discuss here).

Regards

Mike

PS: After reviewing the above as posted, a problem still exists if we delete "within" - as amended to basic proposition:

Quote:
... one cannot wage war against one's own country ...
I'd include MAJ Nadal (whom The Bear and I are discussing) and al-Awlaki as eamples of "ones" who have waged war against their country.

I think this even more limited proposition works:

Quote:
... a state cannot wage war against itself ...
Yup, I've been lightly skimming the bloody Austrian (he-he).

Last edited by jmm99; 12-07-2012 at 02:48 AM.
jmm99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2012   #102
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,566
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
We have the sovereign right to pursue people who attack us or who we know are plotting to attack us. In countries with functioning legal and law enforcement systems that doesn't have to be done in a "war like manner": that's not just in our country, it's in most countries. In the few exceptions where there is no local law, other means are needed. I quite agree that we shouldn't be targeting "nationalist insurgents" in these attacks, but neither am I convinced that we are. I don't think it's an entirely bad thing for nationalist insurgents (or anyone else) to know that if they harbor our enemies they may suffer for that decision.

I have a few issues with your proposition:

First, the connection you propose between AQ and nationalist insurgency is quite tenuous and not supported by hard evidence or detailed reasoning. If you propose a major policy shift based on that proposition, you have to support the proposition a lot more effectively.

Second, there's no clear need to compete with AQ for influence among nationalist insurgents because there's no clear evidence that AQ has much influence with nationalist insurgents. AQ's attempts to generate nationalist insurgency have generally failed: AQ has only gained real support when they fight against a foreign invader. Where nationalist insurgencies in Muslim countries have flourished, as in the Arab Spring, those insurgencies have shown few signs of AQ influence: even where AQ-connected groups have participated, they aren't in control. The Arab Spring rebellions had no special AQ flavor and even where Islamist groups like the Muslim Brothers have played major roles they have tried to steer toward a moderate stance. I see no concrete reason to assume that AQ is an effective or dominant element in any nationalist insurgency anywhere, and I think attempts to push the AQ issue to an insurgency perspective are very questionable.

Third, your policy recommendations are too general to be reasonably discussed. If you would select a few specific regions or nations where you think current policy is wrong, describe what you think is wrong, and offer specific recommendations illustrating your contentions, the argument would be more effective.

I certainly agree that invasion, occupation, regime change and "nation-building" in Iraq and Afghanistan were counterproductive and effectively gave AQ more of what it needs to survive, but I have no clear idea of what you actually and specifically propose to do outside those countries, especially in the core Arab countries. These nations are not our children or our dependencies, we have minimal influence over them, and we certainly aren't enabling them to oppress anyone. It's hard to see how your general propositions apply in any specific sense.

In some ways I think you're a bit stuck in a Cold War paradigm. Possibly the greatest mistake the US made in the Cold War was to allow Communists to seize the moral high ground of opposition to decaying colonial regimes and troglodyte post-colonial dictators. That decision did leave us in the awkward position of supporting and empowering (generally the empowerment was more economic than military) regimes that relied on us against insurgents that were primarily nationalist in character. The times they have a'changed, and I don't think that paradigm is particularly applicable now, at least not in any case I can think of offhand.
Equally, my friend, it is I who believe you are stuck. We look at the same evidence, but from different perspectives, so we see different things.

As to the communists having the moral high ground during the cold war, the hard fact is that all of the larger, more powerful coutries were competing for influence/control over those weaker countries deemed as important to the larger competition between the Soviet-Sino block and the West. No clean hands.

The communists did, however have an advantage in those places where the West was working to sustain systems born of the the very colonialism that nationalist movements were seeking to be free of. These people did not of necessity want to be communists, just like Americans didn't want to be French, and just like most Muslim populaces today don't want to be part of some Islamist Caliphate. But one takes what help one can find, and then worry about the consequences later.

The greater Middle East has been heavily manipulated by the Ottomans, the Europeans and the US for centuries. Now those populaces are largely free of those external systems and at the same time more connected and empowered by modern information technologies than ever before. Those are indisputable facts.

AQ seeks to exploit this situation for their own interests and goals. They do not cause insurgency, but they do seek to leverage the conditions of insurgency that are so prevalent among the people of that region.

The governments cling to how they want to govern, while populaces seek evolution. When denied evolution these things often turn to revolution. It is human nature.

The communists did not cause the insurgencies of the 50s and 60s, but they did seed to exploit that energy to extend their reach and influence. Similar today with AQ. That does not make me stuck in the Cold War. But from what you write, I don't think you understand the Cold War or the current disruptions very well.

These are disruptions rooted in people wanting change, not wars caused by outside forces pushing some controlling ideology. Governments that create and nurture legal means for their people to shape such evolution may well lose the control they have held with in some particular family or segment of the society, but they gain a natural stability that immunizes the people they serve from these external sources of influence and exploitation.

You don't have to agree with that assessment. Your mind is made up. I post it here for other members of the small wars community who are more open minded and appreciate that much of what is captured in Western COIN studies, doctrine, etc is heavily biased. So is what is said by the other sides of these contests. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, and not much is written about that. One must find it for themselves
__________________
Robert C. Jones
Intellectus Supra Scientia
(Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
Bob's World is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2012   #103
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 7,916
Default Truth, Anger and a film

Like many SWC discussions this thread has meandered and taken some odd diversions, e.g. a character from the Simpsons appears.

Having read Bob's last post and the reading elsewhere about Algeria's 50th anniversary of independence this passage stood out:
Quote:
much of what is captured in Western COIN studies, doctrine, etc is heavily biased. So is what is said by the other sides of these contests. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, and not much is written about that. One must find it for themselves.
Western COIN studies have until relatively recently been in the context of struggles for national independence, i.e. ending colonial rule and the demise of 'settler' regimes, notably in Southern Africa and in Algeria a mix of the two. I am not sure where the truth lies, somehow I doubt it is in the middle - itself a very Western sentiment, that compromise is all.

The article on Algeria had this:
Quote:
What these populations aspire to and how they perceive the west is the major issue in international politics because this anger, emblematic of an arc of insecurity from Morocco to Indonesia, will not go away.
Link to a 6.5k word article:http://www.opendemocracy.net/martin-...in-six-objects

Elsewhere on SWC is a thread on films for COIN, in which 'The Battle of Algiers' features, so maybe readers will want to follow this:
Quote:
This December ‘Algeria and the Arab Revolutions: Pasts, Presents and Futures’ will contain a series of articles exploring Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 film The Battle of Algiers; a film that inspired ant-imperialist struggles across Africa, Asia and Latin America and which, through its honest depiction of terrorism and counter-terrorism, continues to speak to the contemporary world.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/freefor...ts-and-futures
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2012   #104
wm
Council Member
 
wm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: On the Lunatic Fringe
Posts: 1,237
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
This one is simply not correct - cuz of inclusion of "within":

Quote:
Certainly, because one cannot wage war within/against one's own country. How odd does this sound? "Today the President of the United States requested that the Senate ratify his declaration of war against his own country."

[much material removed]

Yup, I've been lightly skimming the bloody Austrian (he-he).
Hoisted by my own petard.
Would it help if I specified that the member of the family (of resemblences) that those involved in certain language games map to when they use the word "war" to which I was referring when I used the word "war" is war as "defined" by the requirements for engaging in it found in the US Constitution?
(And that's a mouthful)
__________________
Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris
wm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2012   #105
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 7,916
Default Al-Qaida – The Potency of an Idea

Quote:
With recent developments in West and East Africa, there are reasons to suspect that the al-Qaida vision, so widely believed to be in retreat, may actually be undergoing a transition to a different entity as part of a larger-scale renaissance. If this is the case, the implications could be considerable....as a potent idea it may be undergoing a transition to a different entity.
Link:http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.u...3_potency_idea

The author is Professor Paul Rogers.
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2012   #106
Dayuhan
Council Member
 
Dayuhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
Posts: 3,122
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
As to the communists having the moral high ground during the cold war, the hard fact is that all of the larger, more powerful coutries were competing for influence/control over those weaker countries deemed as important to the larger competition between the Soviet-Sino block and the West. No clean hands.
Of course everybody was competing for influence, and of course nobody had clean hands. The communists simply read the direction of events earlier and more pragmatically, and were openly building bridges with nationalist and anti-colonial movements well before WW2. That left the Eurocentric US responding to their move and occupying the ground of defending colonial regimes and post-colonial dictators, a morally indefensible position for the self-styled land of the free. I didn't say the Communists were more moral, I said they recognized the more morally and historically defensible position earlier and moved to fill it, and the US played into their hands by trying to stand against the obvious tide of history. From this they gained a meaningful propaganda advantage in the developing world, and the US gained a long succession of liabilities that still hang over us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
The communists did, however have an advantage in those places where the West was working to sustain systems born of the the very colonialism that nationalist movements were seeking to be free of. These people did not of necessity want to be communists, just like Americans didn't want to be French, and just like most Muslim populaces today don't want to be part of some Islamist Caliphate. But one takes what help one can find, and then worry about the consequences later.
The difference, of course, is that while the populaces in the countries involved may not have considered themselves "communist", many of the insurgent movements the Communists supported actually did identify themselves as Communist and were actually led by declared Communists. Those that won often did set up recognizably Communist governments. I can't think of a single indigenous insurgency (one not primarily directed at an occupying foreign power) in the Muslim world that openly declares itself a part of AQ or is led by AQ members. The victorious insurgencies of the Arab Spring show no signs of significant AQ influence. I see no evidence at all to suggest that indigenous insurgencies in the Muslim world have been successfully leveraged by AQ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
The greater Middle East has been heavily manipulated by the Ottomans, the Europeans and the US for centuries. Now those populaces are largely free of those external systems and at the same time more connected and empowered by modern information technologies than ever before. Those are indisputable facts.

AQ seeks to exploit this situation for their own interests and goals. They do not cause insurgency, but they do seek to leverage the conditions of insurgency that are so prevalent among the people of that region.
You keep repeating this, like a mantra, as if repetition were a supporting argument. It's not.

Yes, AQ seeks to leverage conditions of insurgency. My point is that this effort has generally failed. What AQ has successfully leveraged is a broad resentment in the Muslim world toward perceived aggression and injustice on the part of the West generically, and specific anger at specific occupations of Muslim territory. That narrative has worked for them. Their efforts to generate or hijack indigenous insurgencies have been resounding failures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
The governments cling to how they want to govern, while populaces seek evolution. When denied evolution these things often turn to revolution. It is human nature.
Yes, but you're not demonstrating any connection between this phenomenon and AQ. Again, it's not enough to say it is so. You have to support that claim with evidence and reasoning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
The communists did not cause the insurgencies of the 50s and 60s, but they did seed to exploit that energy to extend their reach and influence. Similar today with AQ. That does not make me stuck in the Cold War. But from what you write, I don't think you understand the Cold War or the current disruptions very well.
I don't think you're reading what I'm writing. I never said communists or communism caused those insurgencies, I said they recognized those insurgent situations early and moved effectively to exploit them. They were in many cases quite successful. AQ has not had similar success. Anyone here can name a long list of Cold War insurgencies that openly identified themselves as Communist. Can you name even one indigenous insurgency (again, one directed at a local government, not a foreign occupier) that openly identifies with AQ or where AQ has significant influence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
These are disruptions rooted in people wanting change, not wars caused by outside forces pushing some controlling ideology. Governments that create and nurture legal means for their people to shape such evolution may well lose the control they have held with in some particular family or segment of the society, but they gain a natural stability that immunizes the people they serve from these external sources of influence and exploitation.
The claim that AQ and its supporters seek primarily to alter relationships between Muslim governments and those they govern, rather than relationships between the Muslim ummah and the world around it, is another mantra. Again, this can't just be stated, it has to be supported with evidence and reasoning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
You don't have to agree with that assessment. Your mind is made up. I post it here for other members of the small wars community who are more open minded and appreciate that much of what is captured in Western COIN studies, doctrine, etc is heavily biased.
I think your mind is also made up, and I post for the same reason.

I agree that much of what is enshrined in COIN doctrine is heavily biased and based on invalid assumptions, but I don't see any reason why COIN doctrine has to be part of the fight against AQ. Other than the ones we've created by occupation and "nation-building", there's not an insurgency on the planet that requires more than a small FID presence from us. We don't need to "do COIN", if we stop creating insurgencies we won't have to fight them on any significant scale. If we stop giving our enemy what they thrive on - occupations of Muslim lands - they'll be forced to fall back on trying to exploit indigenous insurgencies, a position that has not succeeded for them and is not likely to.

Again, your position would be more credible and comprehensible if you would identify specific policies toward specific countries (ideally other than Iraq and Afghanistan, where we all know we %$#@ed uo) that you think have failed, and suggest specific policies that you think would improve matters. That's particularly relevant in the Arad heartland: what specifically would you have us do with regard to, say, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States?
__________________
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

H.L. Mencken
Dayuhan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012   #107
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,566
Default

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World
The greater Middle East has been heavily manipulated by the Ottomans, the Europeans and the US for centuries. Now those populaces are largely free of those external systems and at the same time more connected and empowered by modern information technologies than ever before. Those are indisputable facts.

AQ seeks to exploit this situation for their own interests and goals. They do not cause insurgency, but they do seek to leverage the conditions of insurgency that are so prevalent among the people of that region.

Quote:
Dayuhan's response:
You keep repeating this, like a mantra, as if repetition were a supporting argument. It's not
.
Actually it is true. If I come across as a mantra it is only because I bother to respond to your mantra claiiming my position to be false.

I've never claimed AQ was successful in taking charge of or leading an insurgency anywhere. Most don't want what they are selling. But that does not mean they are not selling it, nor that their primary source of "energy" (funding, sanctuary, recruits, etc) does not come form these many latent and active insurgent populaces. They are, and it does.

If your point is yes, but they are failing in taking over these insurgencies and that the whole "Caliphate" paranoia in the West is much more an over reaction to AQ propaganda than anything we really need to worry about, then with that I can totally agree.


You keep arguing against a point I have never tried to make.
__________________
Robert C. Jones
Intellectus Supra Scientia
(Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

Last edited by Bob's World; 12-08-2012 at 09:26 AM.
Bob's World is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012   #108
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,566
Default

Quote:
That's particularly relevant in the Arab heartland: what specifically would you have us do with regard to, say, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States?
Dare I address this yet again, only to be accused of reciting a mantra? :-)

Look, the "tactics" of what precisely needs to be done in any particular place is always going to be unique, and must be shaped to the specifics of the problems, cultures, types of governance, nature of grievances, types of active revolutionary and pre-revolutionary organizations, any outside state or non-state UW or FID actors, etc. Oh, and then of course shaped by what, if any, national interests we might have in that place or the issues taking place there.

Good tactics must be based in the details of how things/people are different. Good strategy, however, must be based in a good understanding of how things are the same. My focus is on strategy, as that is, IMO, where our problems lie.

To apply an indirect fire or navigation comparison: An error is tactics is like a location error, a 10M mistake at the start equates to equal 10M errors regardless of range; but an azimuth error of a single degree is a 17.7 Meter error at a 1,000 meters and continues to grow by that same amount every 1000M farther out one goes.

We have made tactical errors throughout our response to 9/11, that happens and they are easily addressed and recovered from. But we have made azimuth errors in our strategic framing that send us farther and farther from where we want to be every day we continue to pursue them. But with these three countries you name, a similar strategic understanding and framework applies:

1. All have high conditions of insurgency (that are unique in how they manifest and how active they are etc).

2. All are primarily Muslim.

3. All have systems of governance that are, or have been until recently, highly reliant upon their relationships with powerful external partners

4. All have been "targeted" by AQ as sources of funding, sanctuary, recruits, etc

5. All are tied to long-stated US national interests as either a producer of, or controlling a crucial LOC for movement of vital energy resources.

6. All were under Ottoman and European control prior to the Cold War, and all were locations the US/West worked diligently to maintain or gain the role of primary security ally (rather than the Soviets) throughout the Cold War; and then worked to sustain those relationships through the comfortable certainty of sustaining particular people, families.systems of governance in place post-Cold War.

7. US will continue to have interests in these places for the foreseeable future.

8. The populaces of these places are, I suspect, much more comfortable with their own values and concepts of what proper governance is than they are with the US brand version of those things our NSS directs that we should promote.

9. The status quo is increasingly unsustainable at acceptable costs (though the Saudis and the Gulf States are pouring in increasing amounts of bribes, security, etc as their fear of revolution grows).

10. As Morsi is finding out, the people do not want to trade one dictator for another. These populaces have evolving expectations of governance that are more liberal than what they have had, but not nearly so liberal as what we promote. Grabs of excessive powers by new governments will be resisted (regardless of the ideology of the new government) just as clinging to excessive powers is resisted now.

11. Everyone is better served by evolution of governance far more than they are by revolution of governance or simple suppression of the problem, either one. The tendency in governance, however, is to resist change until change is forced.

So:

The US has an opportunity to be a agent for peaceful, evolutionary change on the terms of the people, cultures and governments actually involved. But so far we have demanded to cast this on our terms in our context. Step one is to abandon our context and embrace theirs. This is there problem, it must be their solution.

1. We need to mediate or facilitate mediation in as neutral a way as possible.

2. We need to set redlines for both governments and populace groups in terms of violence, and other activities counter-productive to the process.

3. We need to encourage populaces to embrace non-violent tactics for their insurgent movements, and then deter governments from applying excessive violence against such activities.

4. We need to use our full DIME(but light on the M) to get these governments to hold true, substantive talks with their many diverse populace groups.

5. We need to stop conducting CT operations against elements of these revolutionary populace groups simply because they are talking to AQ. We need to incentivise them to work in the context of our concept for supporting evolution, rather than in the AQ context of supporting revolution. So long as we support status quo or Western values AQ will win this competition for influence.

There are, I believe 5 broad, fundamental perception of governance that we should use as our guideposts. All of these are as perceived by the actual populaces we are working with in the context of their unique cultures and situations. What we perceive is moot.
1. They need to feel that governance is acting in a manner consistent with evolving perceptions. As example, there is significant voice in Saudi Arabia that they would like a judicial system not totally under the King's control. That is the type of issue that needs to be on the table. We don't need the al Saud family run out of town, but we do need them to listen (they need to listen even more than we need them to. We can always work with whomever runs them off, but if we allow that we will need to compete with the Chinese, Russia, various European, etc for what we have there now, and we should avoid that if possible).

2. The people need to recognize the right of their government to govern them. If current regimes have tarnished legitimacy, they need to work to repair that. This will most likely mean they will need to relinquish some of their near total power. But better to be forced at the negotiation table (yes, I realize Kings don't negotiate, they prefer to be beheaded) to transition to a parliamentary monarchy than to lose the whole thing attempting to cling to what is no longer sustainable. They need to sort this out for themselves. The UN cannot 'grant' or bestow legitimacy, it must be earned.

3. They must fine-tune law enforcement approaches and policies to be perceived as more just. A lot of work for all of these countries on this one. Just stepping back for attempting to force the status quo of governance will help. if the government is not dedicated to the suppression of popular opposition, they do not have to be nearly as heavy handed in their law enforcement.

4. Respect and dignity. The Shia in the gulf, Christians in Egypt, etc all must perceive that they have equal treatment and opportunity under the law as other similarly situated segments of the populace (this all applies in Israel-Palestine as well, by the way).

5. And lastly is some system of official empowerment. These governments must find what works for them (as assessed by their people) to ensure that within the context of their culture they have systems in place for the shaping of governance that are perceived by the people as being trusted, certain and legal.

If we can convince these governments to do this; if we can accept the risk associated with the uncertainty of change; if we can step back from pushing our own ideology or fearing the ideology of others; if we can come to the realization that we have our over characterization and response to "terrorism" must be toned way back, then we can do this.

There are a lot of "ifs" that good tactical approaches tailored for each place will need to address. But all of those tactics must be in synch an over-arching strategy similar to what I lay out here. To date we set tactical metrics, and then get so focused on putting up big tactical numbers that we lose sight of what we are actually trying to do. Time to put good strategy in the lead, and let intel and tactics follow. My opinion.
__________________
Robert C. Jones
Intellectus Supra Scientia
(Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

Last edited by Bob's World; 12-08-2012 at 10:49 AM.
Bob's World is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012   #109
Dayuhan
Council Member
 
Dayuhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
Posts: 3,122
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
I've never claimed AQ was successful in taking charge of or leading an insurgency anywhere. Most don't want what they are selling. But that does not mean they are not selling it, nor that their primary source of "energy" (funding, sanctuary, recruits, etc) does not come form these many latent and active insurgent populaces. They are, and it does.
The claim that AQ's "primary source of energy" is "these many latent and active insurgent populaces" remains unsupported by evidence or reasoning. It's just a claim. It's also a questionable claim, because we an easily observe that AQ is most effective when they exploit the wides[read anger at western influence in general and "infidel" occupation of Muslim lands specifically. If the primary source of energy was an insurgency dynamic, you would expect AQ to be most effective when hey are trying to rally support against Muslim governments. This is not what we actually see, and that needs to be explained. The explanation has to be specific and not dependent on broad correlations. Observing that bad governance (by our standards) is common in countries where AQ draws support is not sufficient cause to deduce that bad governance causes support for AQ, because many other factors are also present in those environments.

You earlier claimed that foreign fighters travel to fight in order to change conditions in their home countries. I pointed tout that this claim is incompatible with 3 consistent observations about the foreign fighter phenomenon. I've seen no reply. Ignoring inconvenient inconsistencies does not advance your argument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
If your point is yes, but they are failing in taking over these insurgencies and that the whole "Caliphate" paranoia in the West is much more an over reaction to AQ propaganda than anything we really need to worry about, then with that I can totally agree.
I don't think there is any "Caliphate paranoia" in the West, except among professional paranoiacs who are afraid of everything. It's pretty obvious that the Caliphate is a fantasy. There is some not unreasonable concern that those who pursue that fantasy want to kill us in the process: not concern that they'll succeed in creating a caliphate, but concern over their habit of trying to kill us.

Of course many of the responses have been poorly calculated, ineffective, and counterproductive. Not all of these have been "threat-centric". The idea that we can "drain the swamp in the Middle East" or that we can disable AQ by restructuring patterns of governance in Arab Countries is not threat-centric, but it is beyond our capacity and it is the kind of hubris that leads us to places like the one we're in now.
__________________
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

H.L. Mencken
Dayuhan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012   #110
ganulv
Council Member
 
ganulv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Berkshire County, Mass.
Posts: 868
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
I don't think there is any "Caliphate paranoia" in the West, except among professional paranoiacs who are afraid of everything.

Well…



__________________
If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)
ganulv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012   #111
Dayuhan
Council Member
 
Dayuhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
Posts: 3,122
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Dare I address this yet again, only to be accused of reciting a mantra? :-)
No, this is not a mantra... mantras are the short ones, like "insurgency is the source of AQ's energy" and "foreign fighters travel to fight in order to change governance in their home countries". Finally we get a bit specific, a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Look, the "tactics" of what precisely needs to be done in any particular place is always going to be unique, and must be shaped to the specifics of the problems, cultures, types of governance, nature of grievances, types of active revolutionary and pre-revolutionary organizations, any outside state or non-state UW or FID actors, etc. Oh, and then of course shaped by what, if any, national interests we might have in that place or the issues taking place there.
I was looking more for policies than tactics but this will suffice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
But with these three countries you name, a similar strategic understanding and framework applies:
With much of this I agree; no response to those is necessary. There are some sticking points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
1. All have high conditions of insurgency (that are unique in how they manifest and how active they are etc).
As I've said before, I think you're using a non-standard definition of "insurgency" here, which makes discussion confusing. I'd agree that there's widespread discontent with governance in these areas; whether or not that has reached a point where it can be called "insurgency", as the term is generally understood, is debatable. If you're going to use non-standard definitions of terms it's good to explain your definition before using it. Discussion gets complicated when people ascribe different meanings to the same words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
3. All have systems of governance that are, or have been until recently, highly reliant upon their relationships with powerful external partners
Major red flag on this one. Looking at Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States, I don't see one case in which you could realistically claim systems of governance that "are, or have been until recently, highly reliant upon their relationships with powerful external partners". Reliant for external defense, possibly, but not for control of the populace and certainly not for economic sustenance. One of the consistent weaknesses of your argument is that you consistently and drastically overrate the reliance of other governments on us, and therefore the degree of influence that we can bring to bear on their behaviour. Assuming influence that you haven't actually got is dangerous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
6. All were under Ottoman and European control prior to the Cold War, and all were locations the US/West worked diligently to maintain or gain the role of primary security ally (rather than the Soviets) throughout the Cold War; and then worked to sustain those relationships through the comfortable certainty of sustaining particular people, families.systems of governance in place post-Cold War.
Again, you overrate the degree to which these governments were "sustained" by outside influence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
9. The status quo is increasingly unsustainable at acceptable costs (though the Saudis and the Gulf States are pouring in increasing amounts of bribes, security, etc as their fear of revolution grows).
I think "increasingly unsustainable" is simplistic and inaccurate. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are arguably more stable today than they were in the 90s. Not that they've solved the problems, but domestic investment, decreased unemployment, etc have bought a substantial reprieve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
So:
Now we get to the sticky bits...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
The US has an opportunity to be a agent for peaceful, evolutionary change on the terms of the people, cultures and governments actually involved. But so far we have demanded to cast this on our terms in our context. Step one is to abandon our context and embrace theirs. This is there problem, it must be their solution.
You assume that "they" have a consistent context, that we know what it is, and that we have a part to play in the changes. I'm not sure any of these assumptions are sustainable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
1. We need to mediate or facilitate mediation in as neutral a way as possible.

2. We need to set redlines for both governments and populace groups in terms of violence, and other activities counter-productive to the process.

3. We need to encourage populaces to embrace non-violent tactics for their insurgent movements, and then deter governments from applying excessive violence against such activities.

4. We need to use our full DIME(but light on the M) to get these governments to hold true, substantive talks with their many diverse populace groups.
This, frankly, fills me with horror, and I can imagine no worse course of action. What right or standing have we to mediate in these disagreements? re we being asked to mediate, or to impose red lines, or to "use our full DIME" by any of the actors in these environments? Very simply put: no, we are not. The governments don't want us involved, the populaces don't want us involved, our own populace doesn't want us involved. Any attempt by us to impose ourselves as "mediator" is going to offend everyone involved and be perceived by all concerned (including most Americans) as a Trojan horse ruse aimed at building our own influence and taking control. This directly supports AQs narrative of western interference and subversion.

We are not trusted or wanted in these places, and any attempt to impose ourselves in these internal consequences is likely to blow up in our faces. Even where we've played a part in creating problems through meddlings past, bad meddling can't be corrected by more meddling. It has to be corrected by less meddling: unless there's a specific request from groups with a realistic claim to represent the populace or a significant portion thereof, we need to stay out of the internal affairs of these countries. Even where such a request exists, it's best managed mutilaterally.

Look at what happened in Bahrain. We came in advising accommodation, negotiation, and reform. We were promptly ignored, and achieved nothing beyond underscoring our own impotence.

Effectively what you're proposing here is that these governments need to be "fixed" and that we have a central role to play in making the fixing happen. That's scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
5. We need to stop conducting CT operations against elements of these revolutionary populace groups simply because they are talking to AQ. We need to incentivise them to work in the context of our concept for supporting evolution, rather than in the AQ context of supporting revolution.
Are we "conducting CT operations against elements of these revolutionary populace groups" in any of the countries under discussion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
There are a lot of "ifs" that good tactical approaches tailored for each place will need to address. But all of those tactics must be in synch an over-arching strategy similar to what I lay out here. To date we set tactical metrics, and then get so focused on putting up big tactical numbers that we lose sight of what we are actually trying to do. Time to put good strategy in the lead, and let intel and tactics follow. My opinion.
The overarching strategy you describe seems based on the assumption that the governments in question are reliant on us and must do what we want them to do, and that the populaces concerned want us to step in and interfere in the domestic affairs of their nations. These seem to me like unsupported, exaggerated, and very dangerous assumptions, and I don't see how you can build "good strategy" on faulty assumptions.
__________________
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

H.L. Mencken

Last edited by Dayuhan; 12-09-2012 at 12:35 AM.
Dayuhan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012   #112
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,566
Default

Look, I stand by both my assessment and my recommendation.

Would love to hear yours.

We can ignore these conditions; we can attack the symptoms; or we can address the causes.

I believe we need to largely ignore where our interests are small; we need to attack symptoms only to the degree necessary to mitigate the dangers, and always subjugated to: our efforts to work with governments to address causes in those places where our interests are high.

Not nation building. That is an even bigger, more flawed concept than excessive CT. You cannot develop a country to stability, nor is effective government as measured by Western standards in any way a cure for instability.

As to using a non-standard definition for insurgency, what choice do I have? The doctrinal definition that demands that there be active, organized violence in order to be an insurgency is so narrowly symptomatic. It is no wonder we always attack symptoms and call it success when those overt symptoms die down. After all, at that point is no longer "insurgency" under the accepted definition. I merely recognize that the narrow case in the doctrinal definition is an apex condition of a much broader dynamic. We get to better understanding and smarter approaches when we open our aperture and our minds to better consider where these things come from and how to best prevent or cure the same.

My definition requires governments to own their role in causation. Governments prefer to blame anything else. Be it some ideology, some malign actor, some foreign government waging COIN poorly in your country, the economy, drought, unemployment, etc. Anything but owning their own key role. This is why we "counterinsurgency" rather than "counterpoorgovernance." We counter the symptom rather than the problem. Most often we actually make it a major goal to actively protect and preserve the problem as is. I find that odd, but I realize most don't think much about that at all. They just apply the doctrinal definition and approaches and merrily attack the symptoms.
__________________
Robert C. Jones
Intellectus Supra Scientia
(Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
Bob's World is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012   #113
Dayuhan
Council Member
 
Dayuhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
Posts: 3,122
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Look, I stand by both my assessment and my recommendation.
Seems to me that if you're going to put a proposal on the table you should be willing to defend it against reasonable criticism. Repetition is not defense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Would love to hear yours.
I gave them a while back, I will try to resuscitate them. Not sure if it was on this thread, there are many on the same or similar subjects. Wasn't that long ago.

(edit: general outline here: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...20&postcount=2)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
We can ignore these conditions; we can attack the symptoms; or we can address the causes.
It's difficult to address causes that are rooted in history; we haven't got a time machine. There's always the temptation to look at the legacy of past meddling, decide that meddling was a mistake, and try to correct it with more meddling. That won't work: the cure for bad meddling isn't good meddling, it's less meddling. We cannot address causes by forcing our way unwanted and uninvited into the government/populace dynamic in other countries: all that's going to do is get all sides pissed off at us. Sometimes there's a place for multilateral mediation, if it's requested by all parties to the dispute being mediated, or intervention, in rare and extreme cases where it's requested by someone with a credible claim to speak for the populace or a substantial part thereof. Trying to push into these matters unilaterally and on our own initiation seems to me a very dangerous idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
I believe we need to largely ignore where our interests are small; we need to attack symptoms only to the degree necessary to mitigate the dangers, and always subjugated to: our efforts to work with governments to address causes in those places where our interests are high.
We can only work with governments where they choose to work with us, and we generally can't force them to do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Not nation building. That is an even bigger, more flawed concept than excessive CT. You cannot develop a country to stability, nor is effective government as measured by Western standards in any way a cure for instability.
Agreed. Not can you simply command reform or force a change in the relationship between government and populace, especially in nations where your influence is very limited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
As to using a non-standard definition for insurgency, what choice do I have? The doctrinal definition that demands that there be active, organized violence in order to be an insurgency is so narrowly symptomatic. It is no wonder we always attack symptoms and call it success when those overt symptoms die down. After all, at that point is no longer "insurgency" under the accepted definition. I merely recognize that the narrow case in the doctrinal definition is an apex condition of a much broader dynamic. We get to better understanding and smarter approaches when we open our aperture and our minds to better consider where these things come from and how to best prevent or cure the same.
You can refer to high levels of domestic dissent, or tension between government and populace or portions thereof, or a pre-insurgency condition, or conditions conducive to insurgency. Tension between nations precedes war and can cause war, but it isn't war. The conditions that precede and cause insurgency are closely linked to insurgency, but they are not insurgency. Better to come up with a new word for it than to use a standard word with a non-standard definition that just creates confusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
My definition requires governments to own their role in causation.
Unfortunately your prescription requires us to compel or persuade other governments to own their own role in causation. That means interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and foreign interference in Muslim countries is what AQ thrives on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Governments prefer to blame anything else. Be it some ideology, some malign actor, some foreign government waging COIN poorly in your country, the economy, drought, unemployment, etc. Anything but owning their own key role. This is why we "counterinsurgency" rather than "counterpoorgovernance."
If we try to counter what we consider to be "poor governance" in another country, we will inevitably end up using our own metrics to determine what "poor governance" and "good governance" are, which you yourself say is a bad idea. What other metrics do we have, though? Easy to say "those of the people", but we often don't know what those are, and different segments of the people often have very different metrics, often thoroughly incompatible ones. Messing in some other nation's governance is a business we don't need to be in and generally shouldn't be in, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Most often we actually make it a major goal to actively protect and preserve the problem as is. I find that odd, but I realize most don't think much about that at all. They just apply the doctrinal definition and approaches and merrily attack the symptoms.
Where exactly do we "make it a major goal to actively protect and preserve the problem as is"? Did we "protect and preserve" the status quo in any of the Arab Spring rebellions? If not there, then where? An allegation like that needs to be specific.
__________________
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

H.L. Mencken

Last edited by Dayuhan; 12-09-2012 at 10:27 PM.
Dayuhan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012   #114
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,566
Default

Quote:
Where exactly do we "make it a major goal to actively protect and preserve the problem as is"? Did we "protect and preserve" the status quo in any of the Arab Spring rebellions? If not there, then where? An allegation like that needs to be specific.
Why limit ourselves to the Arab Spring countries?

We did this in Vietnam.
We do this in Yemen, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Isarel in varying degrees currently.

We agree to disagree on our understanding of this dynamic. I personally am fine with that. I find your interpretations of a very subjective field of human endeavor to be cripplingly literal. One need not agree with another's position to understand that positon. At times I feel that the only positions you can understand are the ones you agree with. I'm not sure what to do with that.
__________________
Robert C. Jones
Intellectus Supra Scientia
(Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
Bob's World is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012   #115
Dayuhan
Council Member
 
Dayuhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
Posts: 3,122
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Why limit ourselves to the Arab Spring countries?
Trying to stay reasonably current, and within geographic context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
We did this in Vietnam.
Yes we did, and in many other places during the Cold War. That's past, and cannot be changed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
We do this in Yemen, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Isarel in varying degrees currently.
Yemen, perhaps to some extent. We didn't make any particular effort to preserve Saleh, in fact I think there was a fair bit of machination aimed at getting him out. I'm not sure in any event that it's reasonable to talk about "insurgency" in Yemen, it's more a chaos of clan, ethnic and sectarian conflict. Certainly there's no coherent insurgent movement representing a coherent set of popular demands. Any party, external or internal, trying to mediate in Yemen is in for one massive headache.

In Afghanistan I tend to agree, but that's an inevitable consequence of regime change and nation-building, a strategy I've disagreed with from the start. We were always going to be to some extent invested in whatever we installed there, and we were never going to install a structurally viable government. That meant we painted ourselves into a corner where no matter what we did we'd be supporting and sustaining a dysfunctional government, because we were bound to be invested in a government we produced and the political culture has not re-evolved (since the devolution of the civil war) to a point where it can sustain functional governance.

I don't think we've been trying all hat hard to "preserve and protect the status quo" in the Southern Philippines. Our entry was largely intended to disrupt the status quo of a bandit-cum-terror group operating more or less freely under a government that could have suppressed it, but didn't because too much money was being made from it. There's been quite continuous pressure to alter the status quo... that pressure has often been based on what I feel is a mistaken assessment of the status quo, and I'm not sure where it will lead, but it has been there.

In Saudi Arabia our position on the status quo is of course quite irrelevant. We couldn't change it if we wanted to, and the government doesn't need our help to sustain it. There's nothing we can say or do that's going to change the way the Saudi government relates to its populace, and trying to push our way into that equation (where nobody, including the populace, wants us involved) is going to be counterproductive at best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
We agree to disagree on our understanding of this dynamic. I personally am fine with that. I find your interpretations of a very subjective field of human endeavor to be cripplingly literal. One need not agree with another's position to understand that positon. At times I feel that the only positions you can understand are the ones you agree with. I'm not sure what to do with that.
How can anyone understand your position if you won't explain it? You declare that it is so, if challenged you repeat that it is so, and if challenged again you say those doing the challenging just don't get it and are some how blind or deluded. I don't think the questions I've asked are all that unreasonable or that undeserving of answers.

If we come over the horizon telling the governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or the Gulf States that we're going to work with them to resolve their differences with their populaces, how can we reasonably expect any answer other than "piss off"? hat do we do when we get that very predictable answer?
__________________
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

H.L. Mencken
Dayuhan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012   #116
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,389
Default

Posted by Dayuhan

Quote:
It's difficult to address causes that are rooted in history; we haven't got a time machine. There's always the temptation to look at the legacy of past meddling, decide that meddling was a mistake, and try to correct it with more meddling.
This is perhaps the most insightful comment I have seen in weeks in the SWJ Council. We too often fool ourselves into thinking "we" can address underlying issues, and in the process of doing so waste billions of dollars and spill way too much blood. In the end the underlying causes remain. We need to return a strategy based on common sense, not one based on false hope.
Bill Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8. ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation