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Old 03-16-2015   #1
Bill Moore
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Default The Illusion of Peacetime

The following article is important, but it barely touches my concern with our collective illusion of peacetime, where we seek to deter and prepare for war, but fail to develop a strategy for the war we're in. The condition of peace is a relationship between two or more entities, throughout all of history I doubt if peace has ever been a condition that has existed worldwide between all entities. As for the U.S., it has not been at peace in the purest sense in decades (if ever). We have persistently used our military or intelligence services' paramilitaries' (and other means) to impose our will on other entities (state or non-state actor groups), and states and non-state actors have been at war with us.

The character of these wars vary considerably, but it can still be viewed as war. Chinese military theorists in "Unrestricted Warfare" wrote,

Quote:
This kind of war means that all means will be in readiness, information will be omnipresent, and the battlefield will be everywhere [global]. It means that all weapons and technology can be superimposed at will, it means that all the boundaries lying between the two worlds of war and non-war, of military and non-military [involves more than military means], will be totally destroyed,
Articles on Russia's non-linear warfare argue that battles are only part of a larger strategy, they are rarely intended to be decisive in themselves. Not surprising, the U.S. being excessively influenced by Clausewitz's view of war and the center of gravity in "On War" seek victory by capturing an adversary's capital (Baghdad) or attriting the adversary's military so they can no longer resist. In short, we attempt to make battle decisive in all cases, because it fits our view of war. How war is supposed to be. When al-Qaeda and other groups present a situation where our traditional way of war fails to produce desired results we're perplexed. We fell back on colonial era COIN as a potential solution, with some even arguing it isn't war. Those arguing it isn't war can't define war, so it makes calling it something other than war a convenient argument, but one that isn't well supported.

I think we should simply embrace the reality that we're in a persistent state of confrontation, conflict, or war with a few adversaries and develop a strategy to appropriately wage it. That isn't a call to arms in the traditional sense, but a call to synergize all of the elements of national power with a greater degree of seriousness focused on defeating our adversaries. These wars in most cases will be waged differently than our preferred way of war where battle is decisive. Instead, they will be waged largely by shaping, political warfare, legal warfare, netwar, and an occasional requirement for a relative major combat operation.

Our adversaries have developed complex, global strategies to pursue their ends as we see in the South China Sea, Ukraine, and with various non-state actors such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Lebanese Hezbollah. To be frank their strategies and their ability to carry them out are quite limited, yet they often seem like they're 10 feet tall because we fail to develop comprehensive strategies to counter them. I suggest one reason we fail to adapt is because we fool ourselves with the illusion we're at peace and not at war.

There’s No Such Thing as Peacetime

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/03/13/...vil-liberties/

Quote:
As Dudziak puts it in War Time, “Military conflict has been ongoing for decades, yet public policy rests on the false assumption that it is an aberration. This enables a culture of irresponsibility, as ‘wartime’ serves as an argument and an excuse for national security-related ruptures of the usual legal order. If we abandon the idea that war is confined in time we can see more clearly that our law and politics are not suspended by an exception to the regular order of things.… Wartime has become the only kind of time we have, and therefore is a time within which American politics must function.” She adds, “A cultural framing of wartimes as discrete and temporary occasions, destined to give way to a state of normality, undermines democratic vigilance.”
Much more in the article.
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Old 03-16-2015   #2
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Excellent article. Thanks.
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Old 03-16-2015   #3
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Default Unrestricted Warfare

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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
The character of these wars vary considerably, but it can still be viewed as war. Chinese military theorists in "Unrestricted Warfare" wrote...
The discussion on Chinese military theories was awhile ago, there is a 2007 thread where this post appeared and is added for reference:
Quote:
Unrestricted Warfare was written by two Chinese Colonels in 1999. The CIA translated the text and its been an ongoing area of concerned discussion ever since.

URW doctrine is a means by which a weaker opponent can defeat a stronger opponent through widely distributed attacks across multiple domains (i.e., computer networks, communications, financial markets, media, terrorist acts) and without abiding by any commonly-held rules of engagement.

There have been two symposiums held so far on URW, both organized by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab and sponsored in part by DARPA and the National Intelligence Council, among others. Here are the links to the original book, as well as the papers presented at each symposium.

Unrestriced Warfare by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui
Unrestricted Warfare Symposium Proceedings 2006
Unrestricted Warfare Symposium Proceedings 2007
There are many threads with 'unrestricted' in and only a few refer to the Chinese viewpoint.
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Old 03-16-2015   #4
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"Political Warfare" "Gray Zone Conflicts" "The Long War" "Unrestricted Warfare" etc., etc., etc.

To what end? To what purpose? What do we possibly gain by allowing those who work within the military profession to convince us to label and think of all forms of competition between powerful organizations with diverse interests as some form of "war"?

Is peace so frightening? I have never seen a nation that is both so desirous of, and at the same time fearful of, peace as is the United States of America. It is an odd dichotomy.

Peace has always been a messy business. Are we still so mentally abused by our experience in Vietnam that we now must insist that every time our national leaders feel the need to employ our military forces in dangerous and violent competition that we must also burden our nation by making each of those situations also a "war" that we therefore must win?

We must not be Pollyannaish about peace, but nor need we fear it. Those who wish too hard for perpetual war may find to their chagrin that prophesies of that nature are all too often self-fulfilling.

Seeing every revolutionary insurgent and insurgent group as some form of "terrorist" has been a strategic disaster for the US over post 9/11 era. To see every state competitor working outside the lines of the rules and policies we have put in place to shape the global competition in our favor promises to produce strategic backlash of an even greater nature.

We have defined an approach to the world that has us in a posture of playing not to lose, while our competitors are all playing to win. We do not need a grand strategy of perpetual warfare, but we do need a grand strategy that defines a game we too can play to win.
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Old 03-16-2015   #5
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Default invention or illusion,

Professor Michael Howard covered the subject well in The Invention of Peace, Profile Books, 2000.
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Old 03-16-2015   #6
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Professor Michael Howard covered the subject well in The Invention of Peace, Profile Books, 2000.
Yes he did, and basically said it was an illusion, a condition we attempt to construct via social engineering, but that process itself leads to war. The bottom line is we're not at peace and to pretend that we are can be likened to Chamberlain's willfulness blindness. To treat the lower end of war as strategically as important as the high end of war is a better way to prevent to escalation than pretending we're at peace. The post is intended to be provocative, because I'm searching for a more comprehensive lexicon that can describe the full spectrum of war. As for peace, that is easier (it isn't messy), we're at peace with Canada, we're not at peace with Russia and we're not in all out war with Russia. We're at war with al-Qaeda.
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Old 03-16-2015   #7
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America is a nation at peace. Period.

We have interests in competition with a wide range of actors in a wide range of forms. But we are a nation at peace.

This call for perpetual war is far more dangerous than a naïve belief that peace means absence of conflict. If everything is war, then nothing is war.

America's biggest problem is not perpetual war; our biggest problem is that we think being a global leader means being in charge of everything and enforcing a family rules made up by us to facilitate our success.

We need to change our scope. We need to stop leading like the worst 2LT in the battalion who makes rules he is either unable or unwilling to enforce; attempts to exercise control over everything in his domain; delegates nothing; and is constantly telling everyone that he is in charge.

America's problem is not that we are at war with the world, or that the world is at war with us. Our problem is that we don't know how to be America in the world as it actually exists.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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Old 03-16-2015   #8
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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
America is a nation at peace. Period.

We have interests in competition with a wide range of actors in a wide range of forms. But we are a nation at peace.

This call for perpetual war is far more dangerous than a nave belief that peace means absence of conflict. If everything is war, then nothing is war.

America's biggest problem is not perpetual war; our biggest problem is that we think being a global leader means being in charge of everything and enforcing a family rules made up by us to facilitate our success.

We need to change our scope. We need to stop leading like the worst 2LT in the battalion who makes rules he is either unable or unwilling to enforce; attempts to exercise control over everything in his domain; delegates nothing; and is constantly telling everyone that he is in charge.

America's problem is not that we are at war with the world, or that the world is at war with us. Our problem is that we don't know how to be America in the world as it actually exists.
Our adversaries love view points like this. As for war, that is word that has lost its meaning decades ago when we quit declaring it. Al-Qaeda declared war against us, we don't have the option of sitting it out (we tried to prior to 9/11). Other actors, much like we do, are conducting undeclared war against us. Call what it you will, but so far you have managed to dodge the challenge of defining war, but it is evident we're not at peace. Peace is peace, it isn't messy. When it gets messy it transforms into something else entirely. Again peace is a relationship between specific actors, not a general condition.

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our biggest problem is that we think being a global leader means being in charge of everything and enforcing a family rules made up by us to facilitate our success.
This comment is logical, but on the other hand as both Kissinger and Colin Gray have said, order is not self-sustaining, it must be enforced. Considering who the alternatives are for enforcing an international order, I'm quite happy with the U.S. doing it within reason. We just haven't found the sweet spot yet. What must we enforce? What can we allow to change without it threatening our interests? I'm still not sure why we state Iraq must continue to exist within its current borders, yet we promoted the separation of Sudan into a North and South Sudan? Since peace is a socially constructed reality, it would seem we could get there if we allowed some borders to change.
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Old 03-17-2015   #9
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Bill, I am trying hard to grasp how smart, reasonable people are coming to this position that you are advocating. I just can't get there. The logic of it escapes me. More importantly, what escapes me is how anyone would thing that seeing all things as war helps solve the problem that we face. Problems, which by the way, compared to being at war, are really quite small. But then anyone living in a nation truly at war would quickly point that out. When one is truly at war, one knows it, and there is no debate.

How can you declare that "peace is not messy"? When has peace ever not been messy?? Far more Americans died at the hands of the Comanche in our own gray zone effort to wrest the Southern plains away from native Americans than AQ has ever killed. And far more viscously to boot. ISIL looks like a bunch of school girls compared to the Apache, yet we battled them primarily with civilians as well. In the first half of the last century we beat up on every weaker place we could reach out to where we thought there was a military interest to serve, or profits to be made; and don't even start on all the coups and revolutions we either fomented or attempted to block as the bloody back story to our Cold War containment of the Soviets. Peace is messy.

As to what our opponents love? AQ had to love it when we declared war on a tactic and went absolutely bat#### crazy, invading countries to topple dictators on one hand, and wrecking all manner of chaos in a dozen other countries to keep our protected dictators in power. American influence plummeted, and AQ influence soared on our confused quest to declare peace to be war and treat it as such.

We are lost as a nation. We have been treating peace as war for so long that we can't simply accept the reality of our situation. We are incredibly secure as a nation. Our security is the envy of nearly everyone else, yet we squander it with Quixotic expeditions in hot pursuit of noises in the dark.

George Washington had it largely right in his farewell address. An address as valid now as it was the day he penned it. We were never an isolationist nation, but were always a maritime nation dedicated to the pursuit of global commerce. We need to get back to the principles and perspectives we were founded upon. There will always be Kings and Pirates who violate the rights of others to advance their own selfish ends. Sometimes that will be our business and demand our firm response - but mostly it is business we do not make better by putting our noses in.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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Old 03-17-2015   #10
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To set the record straight, UBL declared war on America in 1996. After 9/11 we declared war on a tactic. We got to that point by ignoring we were at war prior to 9/11. If we realized it there is a real possibility 9/11 never would have happened, and the war would have been contained at a much lower level of intensity.

We conduct war now, as others without declaring it.

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL31133.pdf

Quote:
In contrast to an authorization, a declaration of war in itself creates a state of war under international law and legitimates the killing of enemy combatants, the seizure of enemy property, and the apprehension of enemy aliens. While a formal declaration was once deemed a necessary legal prerequisite to war and was thought to terminate diplomatic and commercial relations and most treaties between the combatants, declarations have fallen into disuse since World War II. The laws of war, such as the Hague and Geneva Conventions, apply to circumstances of armed conflict whether or not a formal declaration or authorization was issued.
I found your example about the Comanche's interesting. I'll have to take your word on the number of U.S. citizens they killed compared to Americans (including Mexicans). Why did they kill so many? Were they perhaps waging war to impose their will, or avoid us imposing our will on them? Why do you think we shy away from calling an armed conflict war? Of all people, I find it odd you embrace an outdated view of war. By your description war can only exist in a classical European sense between states who declare war, and then end wars with a peace treaty. Those will probably still happen, but they are not the only type of war. The quote I provided above were from Chinese officers, yet Russians (and others) see the same way.

https://inmoscowsshadows.wordpress.c...on-linear-war/

General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation

Quote:
In the 21st century we have seen a tendency toward blurring the lines between the states of war and peace. Wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template
.

Quote:
People like, for instance, Georgy Isserson, who, despite the views he formed in the prewar years, published the book “New Forms Of Combat.” In it, this Soviet military theoretician predicted: “War in general is not declared. It simply begins with already developed military forces. Mobilization and concentration is not part of the period after the onset of the state of war as was the case in 1914 but rather, unnoticed, proceeds long before that.” The fate of this “prophet of the Fatherland” unfolded tragically. Our country paid in great quantities of blood for not listening to the conclusions of this professor of the General Staff Academy.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/05/05/...nting-warfare/

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The Kremlin, according to Barack Obama, is stuck in the "old ways," trapped in Cold War or even 19th century mindsets. But look closer at the Kremlin’s actions during the crisis in Ukraine and you begin to see a very 21st century mentality, manipulating transnational financial interconnections, spinning global media, and reconfiguring geo-political alliances. Could it be that the West is the one caught up in the "old ways," while the Kremlin is the geopolitical avant-garde, informed by a dark, subversive reading of globalization?
It's competition, but it isn't peaceful competition. The ends are not simply to gain market share, but rather strategic in nature. Unfortunately, the proposed political warfare paper revisited the Cold War and missed the implications of globalization.
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Old 03-17-2015   #11
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Mexicans invited in American settlers to serve as a buffer between them and the Comanche. And no, it was not really war. For the settlers it was what they believed to be an acceptable risk. Life. A chance for opportunity they could not afford in the East, and probably enabled by a belief that the Indians weren't nearly as bad as the stories claimed. For the Comanche it was just being Comanche. Raiding was part of life for them, and the Americans brought riches with them. But for 95% of America this was all legend and the nation clearly was not at war.

Just because AQ, some handful of guys, declare war on the most powerful nation, it does not mean that nation is at war. Does it mean we need to pay attention and deal with those guys? Sure, but "war" is perhaps the least effective way do so. At least judging by the effects of that approach.

The reality is that we need new laws, policies, practices, etc for more effectively deterring state actors that are not deterred by our old approaches in the current environment. We need the same for actively engaging, when necessary, short of war, to impose costs and to disrupt their actions. This is not that war has changed, it is simply that in a time of laws and being a nation of laws, we build boxes that shape the way we classify and can in turn respond to situations. We also need better legal/policy constructs for dealing with non-state actors. War status and CT strategies are a proven disaster. We need to get smarter and smaller, not more reactive and bigger.

I do not believe the best answer is to simply make all things war, to do so is in effect for the US to openly declare a perpetual state of war on the world. What could be more isolationist than that??
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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Old 03-17-2015   #12
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The reality is that we need new laws, policies, practices, etc for more effectively deterring state actors that are not deterred by our old approaches in the current environment. We need the same for actively engaging, when necessary, short of war, to impose costs and to disrupt their actions.
I agree, our lexicon, our rules, our laws, our approaches, are hopefully outdated. In the end I don't care if we call it war, as long as we recognize it isn't peace and that what we're engaged in (or ignoring) is seriousness and requires real strategy.

We evolved from low intensity conflict (LIC), which included a spectrum of conflict from low to high intensity. That is telling, because high intensity conflict (though subjective) could include major combat between conventional forces and even nuclear weapons. Yet, we called it conflict, not war. When the Cold War ended, we transitioned to military operations other than war (MOOTW). We harped on the importance of interagency collaboration and synergy, but the further we got away from using the construct of war the more stove piped our various agencies became. We identified problems in clean little stove pipes. Oh that is a law enforcement problem, and that is a development problem, and that is a military problem, and we'll use a little information to solve that one. The military has its own problems with its definitions and reducing a problem to insurgency, terrorism, etc.

The concept of war hasn't been in vogue for decades in the U.S., because apparently it is better that we can conduct it almost persistently without calling it war. We don't have a CT strategy, we have a decapitation strategy that has been a miserable failure. We don't have a COIN strategy, we have a nation building strategy. This gets to my underlying point, why I recommend calling it war (for now). In theory, war requires a holistic strategy that is closely monitored by national security. It is not an excuse for different agencies and services to compete with each other for a slice of the national budget. If the leaders can't work with each other, then they should be fired. War is too serious for maintaining the status quo.

Moreover, I think treating some security threats with the seriousness that war deserves (e.g. al-Qaeda in 1996) would result in much less violence world wide, because we would pursue solutions instead of engaging in endless conflict due to half-hearted efforts that are not part of a coherent strategy. The old view of war as China and Russia theorists point out is not widely applicable today. In fact, they assume we're waging war, and they don't buy we're waging a messy peace. They respond appropriately, while we continue our willful blindness. Not all wars require bombers, tanks, or even major battles. If you buy into Sun Tzu, in theory you can win the war before the first shot is fired.

Why do you think we can have a messy peace, but war can be clearly defined (again you failed to define it)?
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Old 03-17-2015   #13
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http://www.commondreams.org/views/20...-servant-state

(worth reading, and the article and perspective starting this whole thread is definitely an example of the sad syndrome Andrew Bacevich describes...)

As to defining war, I have not "failed" in that task, I simply have not taken it on yet here in this thread. Even the department of defense shies away from defining war these days.

I think there are important components to something being "war":

1. I believe war must be between two or more complete systems of governance.

A system of governance need not be a state, but must have some form of governing body/system, a security force of some sort, and a distinct population. I think there probably needs to be a territory requirement as well to create a degree of tangibility necessary for war. (So AQ lacks the prerequisite characteristics to participate in war, regardless of what they might declare, or how they might act).

2. War may be legal or illegal, but I believe must be violent.

Many forms of competition occur day in and day out between systems of governance. Usually this competition is legal, but often it is illegal. This is business.

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

We can say that war is politics or policy by other means, but it is for many reasons, most often to deal with a perceived security concern, or to expand the wealth, power and/or influence of at least one of the parties. This naturally affects politics, and is a matter of policy.

So, my 5-minute, Army of One stab at defining what the entire US Department of Defense shies away from is as follows:

"War is a violent interaction between two or more systems of governance with the intent of changing the nature of sovereignty between the contestants."
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 03-17-2015   #14
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This then leaves things that are not war. I do not think that revolutionary insurgency that occurs within a single system of governance is war, and that more importantly, that it is counterproductive for a government challenged by revolutionary insurgency to think of that illegal challenge to governance as "war."

Increasingly senior leaders are agonizing over what they call "gray zone conflicts" - and what Russia does in Ukraine and what China does in the South China Sea are good examples. The US also was a major proponent of gray zone conflict when we were a rising power. Nothing new here, but it is frustrating for those being challenged all the same. I do not believe that this is a type or form of conflict, but rather it is a "space" between what is perceived as legal/proper, etc and those activities that would trip a clear redline leading to "war."

There is advocacy for conducting "political warfare" within that space, and for defining these conflicts as political warfare as well. That works at a certain level, but does run the risk of an overly expansive use of the term "warfare" - which in turn can lead to dangerous and unnecessary risk of escalation. What I would offer is that these actions are only "warfare" if they meet the criteria I sketched out above; and that the first response should be one of determining and putting into effect actions designed to shrink the gray zone one's opponent is taking advantage of to expand their sovereignty.

A visual take on that perspective:
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File Type: jpg Gray Zones Conflicts.jpg (19.8 KB, 23 views)
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 03-17-2015   #15
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(Seeing if a JPEG is easier to read)
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Robert C. Jones
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 03-17-2015   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
http://www.commondreams.org/views/20...-servant-state


"War is a violent interaction between two or more systems of governance with the intent of changing the nature of sovereignty between the contestants."
BW,
That is why we keep loosing. In old time Special Warfare as opposed to General Warfare there was always a violent illegal means combined with non violent legal means to overthrow, subvert or sabotage the normal operation of the target nation or state. Remember a nation does always have a state.
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Old 03-17-2015   #17
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Slap,

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

I would offer that the primary reason we "keep losing" is that we take on things we shouldn't take on, and then define winning in impossible terms.

Of course there is a spectrum of competition - but everything on that spectrum is not necessarily "special," "general," or "warfare."

(And I was very clear in my definition that a system of governance as I defined it did not need to be a state).
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 03-17-2015   #18
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A wise old spook friend from the Berlin days has a simple political view;

I am a socialist because the American political and economic system has basically failed Americans --I am a patriot because we the US have nothing to be ashamed of in our values.

If we finally got our own house in order and it truly functioned then that alone is a strong message to other civil societies that decide to emulate the US--meaning they can succeed whatever their views are towards the rule of law, transparency and good governance.

BUT we must be willing to allow them to go their own ways in order to achieve their determined paths without fear that it is directed against us.

Example---how loud have we made statements about Syria--which many forget that it kicked off four years ago with small demos about the rule of law, fair elections, and good governance and then exploded when the ruling minority government cracked down on the majority.

Now 250K killed, 8M IDPs/refugees and over 1M wounded AND the second round of chemical gas attacks (chlorine) on civilians last night killing more men, women and children--just normal civilians---where is that US red line again --where are our so called values?

Our problem is that we shout out to the world our so called values and then in the end fail to support those values--we have a super split personality and then when someone takes up arms against those perceived values then we flip out and get physical about it without realizing that maybe our concept does not fit their civil society but that society might in fact adopt some of them in their own ways.

Example--Ukraine---the Ukrainians in their Maidan movement were actually displaying the best of what we assume democracy to be--demanding transparency, fair elections, rule of law and good governance based on their own civil society and a massive dislike for wide scale corruption and a longing of what they viewed as European "values".

In bitter freezing temperatures when the US and Europe assumed they would fold they did not and young and old, men, women, children, military members, police and just plain citizens stood their ground much as they did at Lexington--- what is our own governmental reaction by this administration in supporting them further along that path--tap dancing, silence, excuses, words --- but training and defensive arms to support themselves after "trusting" the US in 1994--total silence and waffling.

And we wonder why the world questions our intentions?

You cannot shout out values and demand the world accept them and then simply look the other way without having a "third way forward".

Socialist/patriot--kind of makes sense--the world would then actually understand us better.......if we made that clear by our own actions.

Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 03-17-2015 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 03-17-2015   #19
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This is our poor leadership. We need to focus on leading by example. We (the US) need not, and should not, be the guarantor of the right of self-determination; but neither should be the obstacle to self-determination either when we fear that the locals will determine some form of governance not to our liking.

The principles espoused in our declaration of independence are powerful, and now we read them from a position much more like that of King George when he received them, than we read them at the time they were written. They have become inconvenient truths when we allow our fears of what might happen if we allow the same self-determination for others that we demand for ourselves. But we need to stop taking counsel of our fears. We have faced far greater challenges and harms from our efforts to deny this fundamental right, than I suspect we ever would have from being the champion of the same.
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Old 03-17-2015   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
This is our poor leadership. We need to focus on leading by example. We (the US) need not, and should not, be the guarantor of the right of self-determination; but neither should be the obstacle to self-determination either when we fear that the locals will determine some form of governance not to our liking.

The principles espoused in our declaration of independence are powerful, and now we read them from a position much more like that of King George when he received them, than we read them at the time they were written. They have become inconvenient truths when we allow our fears of what might happen if we allow the same self-determination for others that we demand for ourselves. But we need to stop taking counsel of our fears. We have faced far greater challenges and harms from our efforts to deny this fundamental right, than I suspect we ever would have from being the champion of the same.
So right---when one looks at the world today we see a number of different civil societies attempting to emulate either our values or those of the EU--the interesting question is why though the US or the EU--I think all civil societies regardless of religious beliefs, regardless of whether in Africa or the Pacific, regardless of past political history ie Warsaw Pact or the Far East--all civil societies strive towards a set of norms that ensure them physical security in their society, ensures them employment and a safe environment for their children and opportunities for the children to grow educationally and economically--and if there are fair elections as they define them along the way and a transparent government that responds to their needs so be it.

They would normally then see no need to lash out at the US--there might be inherent differences in approaching common problems but lashing out--hardly.

We simply believed that these societies had to be exact replication of ours in order to be successful and therein lies the core problem they all do not speak English, did not evolve out of the British Empire--and they have their own histories we somehow overlooked.

Would I love the ancient Persian society to once again bloom in the ME--most certainly but along the way they have to lose their revolutionary religious zealous drive and back away from supporting terror as a political means--which IMHO that is at least 20 years away---would I like to see a stable and prospering Russian must certainly as it would lend an additional layer of security to Europe and their civil society has truly suffered since 1917 and desire far better and the list goes on.

So while we have our own issues to work on--I am afraid to say a number of irrationally acting nation states and non state actors will be with us for a long while to come.

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