SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Small Wars Participants & Stakeholders > Government Agencies & Officials

Government Agencies & Officials War zone governance, and in-country political, economic, development assistance.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-27-2010   #121
Infanteer
Council Member
 
Infanteer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 347
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Even now we call those states that dare to reject European forms of governance as "failed states". Read Foreign Policy. Read their definition of a "Failed State." Pure Western arrogance. We define failed as a rejection of doing it our way.
Would you regard Barnett's notion of "Core" and "Gap" states as a sign of this western arrogance?

Quote:
Until you can develop empathy, you cannot understand insurgency. Until you understand insurgency, you cannot understand counterinsurgency. Until you understand counterinsurgency, you cannot effectively travel to the land of another and help him effectively with his insurgency.
Perhaps we're guilty of "Situating the Estimate" then? We've chosen to take Northern Afghan rejection of the Taliban as a sign that a Western-backed Karzai (and the warlord) coalition would be a suitable alternative and that if we just "do COIN properly" then it should work?

It's hard to empathise one's way out of "Whenever these strange Christian soldiers come around, I get s##t on by my neighbours because it'll either provoke the local yokals to fight or worse, everyone will think I'm on their side".

Last edited by Infanteer; 05-27-2010 at 06:34 PM.
Infanteer is offline  
Old 05-27-2010   #122
Entropy
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,457
Default

Col. Jones,

Quote:
No, the objective is for the Governance of a particular populace to gain a better understanding and empathy for the concerns of their own populace; and to rededicate themselves to meeting those needs.
You can't have justice or governance without control. Justice, for instances, is about picking winners and losers and if you don't have power to enforce decisions (and prevent other justice systems from enforcing theirs) then it isn't justice or governance. As I said before, I think control/power is a necessary element of legitimacy. And while we do want government to be responsive to the needs of the populace, there are limits to this. Governments, for instance, rarely give up control of a population even if that would be in that population's best interest. This is not necessarily despotism since the government may genuinely believe that keeping that population under their control is for the best.

Similarly, what if the concern of the populace is for the governance to GTFO? What if the populace doesn't want your governance - what if they want someone elses or their own? Since your model places complete responsibility on the governance and not on the populace, how can better governance fill this kind of "need?"

This brings me back to a subject I keep raising: irreconcilable differences between two or more populations under a one system of governance. I don't think you've answered yet, but I am still wondering how you account for that.

Consider separatist insurgencies, which you've talked a bit about elsewhere. If minority ethnicity X does not want to live under a government controlled by majority ethnicity Y, then how can "better governance" solve that disconnect?

Quote:
The insurgency and the insurgent are merely symptoms that come in many flavors. As you say popualaces are diverse. One can see this in Afghanistan as there are actually multiple insurgencies going on. But they are all in response to the failures of ONE government.
After some additional thought, I see a major flaw in your model in that it doesn't account for where governance takes place. In reality, there is rarely ONE government. Where governance occurs within a system of governance matters, so perhaps governance is best seen as a system.

Consider the US experience and the constant tension between local, state and federal power and authority. Additionally, what counts for "governance" for one population is, for a different population, handled through non-governmental means (such as religious institutions).

Your model appears to treat highly centralized and highly decentralized governance equally.

Also, I think your views expressed here on the relationship between governance and the populace has the effect of infantilizing the populace. You've explicitly stated that the governance is wholly responsible for the governance provided. However, in the absence of governance, a population will create its own system so how can the population hold no responsibility? Here's where I see a major internal disconnect in your arguments. On one hand, you've compellingly argued about self-determination and the centrality of the populace. On the other hand, you seem to argue that that the populace isn't responsible for their governance and that effective governance is best delivered through a technocratic top-down approach by determining what the populace wants and then providing that want.
__________________
Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.
Entropy is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #123
Steve the Planner
Council Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Maryland
Posts: 827
Default

Entropy:

You are sticking your toe into the waters of the real Afghanistan---a decentralized amalgamation of numerous competing groups with long-standing conflicts, vendettas, and histories.

Back, of course, to the fact that we really don't know much about these places or the dynamics of the Country as a whole. A bunch of hillbillies wandering around thinking they are building a nation.

I find it more interesting, whenever possible through news sources, to follow the rest of Afghanistan---the places and people not paralyzed by conflict, and gradually capturing the lion's share of forward momentum---not the Pashtuns.

Granted, Pashtuns may be a majority, but if disabled by conflict, corruption, or whatever, their stock is in serious relative decline while the stock of others grows.

Look at the plight and condition of Kurds after the Anfal. Everything was destroyed, and tens of thousands of teachers, nurses and engineers were dead and buried in mass graves. But, by 2008, Kurdistan was on a roll, while the rest of Iraq was in turmoil. Now, the Kurds' relative position is greatly advanced compared to the rest of Iraq---creating a whole new level of potential instability.

Taking away the US payola gangs, and leaving the Pashtun areas to their own devices, they will very shortly be facing a very different "rest of Afghanistan" that is increasingly becoming educated, urbanized, and linked to international trade patterns. When does this inevitable fracture come to a head? After the Taliban game comes to rest.

A post-conflict Afghanistan simply won't waste operating and capital investments in places where things are unwanted, likely to be destroyed, or closed. The money will rapidly flow elsewhere.

These exercises have little to do with real government because they have little to do with actual economics, politics or culture. Development only becomes real when actual folks with skin in the game have to make choices and their own investments, for realistic expectations of profits (not just grafting an aid program).

The current civ-mil structure is focused on conflict, and conflict remediation in targeted conflict areas. Very different than a credible national engagement process.
Steve the Planner is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #124
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: 3,136
Default Excessively long response, part 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
My message is to stop meddling, not to meddle.
I refer to this:

Quote:
First is to assess every nation with which the U.S. engages for how the major groupings within their populace perceive their own governance in terms of Legitimacy, Justice, Respect and Hope. Second is to ensure that the form of U.S. engagement is designed so as to be least likely to create perceptions of preemption of Legitimacy by the U.S. (remembering that this is as viewed through the eyes of those populaces; need only be perception and not fact; and that the perception of U.S. policy makers as to the intent and nature of said engagement is completely immaterial). Lastly is to encourage Hope; to tell the people of the world not to despair, while at the same time applying carrots and sticks as required to the governments of the same to engage their populaces and to make reasonable accommodations on terms acceptable within their unique cultures, to give the people a legal means to voice their concerns.
That, to me, is an open prescription for meddling. When we bring out the carrots and the sticks to get others to do what we think they ought to do, that's interference in the internal affairs of others. That's meddling.

I do believe that the Jones Model is an accurate description of many (not all) insurgencies, and that it can be a useful tool. It can also be a very dangerous tool, because it is so easy to interpret it as a justification to interfere: they need better governance, they don't seem able to deliver it themselves, we'd better go and help them, or do it for them. There's a very strong suggestion here that interference is acceptable - and even desirable - as long as it's "good" interference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
I've always said the only perception of good or bad governance is that of the governed populace. You always try to twist that, and I don't know why.
Why is very simple: the moment we speak of good or bad governance, we impose our own standards and our own values. When we assess we do it through our lens, with our prejudices and our assumptions. We can't do it any other way. We don't know what any other populace thinks or wants. We can't know, we're not them. Sure, there are people who claim to speak for the populace. Often there are lots of them, all saying something different. The guy with the loudest voice doesn't necessarily speak for the populace. The guy with a bomb doesn't necessarily speak for the populace.

Certainly in some circumstances we can deduce that a populace is upset, but the moment we set about trying to ascertain why they are upset or what needs to be done about it, we invariably bring our own perceptions and our own prejudices to the table.

What I see you recommending above is that we should assess another nation's internal politics, we should decide what we think is bothering the populace, and we should pressure that government to do what we think is needed to improve its relations with its own populace. There's a whole lot of "we" in that picture.

Quote:
Follow the trails of foreign fighters back to where they come from and then research there first. Follow the trail of AQ "terrorists" back to where they come from and research there as well. Study how those populaces perceive the legitimacy of their governments. Study how they perceive the role of the US and the West in their countries. Study how they perceive their justice systems; or if they believe there is equal opportunity for all. Study how much control or influence they believe they have over their governance or even their personal fate. We've gotten into the middle of some messy situations.
I don't see the foreign fighter picture as being terribly relevant. You can't deduce an insurgent population from a few hundred angry young men, and if we assume that the foreign fighters speak for the populace, we push assumption beyond rational bounds.

The assumption that foreign fighters are fighting because of what they perceive to be malicious US influence in their own countries is not entirely compatible with evidence. For one thing, substantial numbers of foreign fighters come from countries (Libya and Syria) where the US has no significant presence and with which the US has had a generally antagonistic relationship. On top of that, we have already seen that AQ was able to successfully recruit foreign fighters for their jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, which had nothing whatsoever to do with the US. In short, I think you're seeing a backlash against the US because that conclusion is compatible with your assumptions. All I can deduce from the foreign fighter issue is that the "expel the infidel from the land of the faithful" narrative still has sufficient legs to recruit a few hundred people across the Muslim world to fight, regardless of what specific infidel is involved. I see no reason at all to assume a US-specific cause. If we want to resolve the foreign fighter problem we don't have to make everyone in the Muslim world like us, we have to wind up our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. They can't travel to join the fight if there's no fight for them to join.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
I'm saying we need to back out, not dig in. Not cut and run, but cut off the blank check of blind support and urge reforms be adopted if continued support is desired.
Where does this "blank check of blind support" exist?

I think you drastically overrate the ability of the US to promote reform by threatening to withdraw support. As I said above, it won't work in Libya or Syria, because they don't get any US support. It won't work in Saudi Arabia either; they don't receive or require assistance from the US... if anything, we need assistance from them. Even where US assistance is substantial (Egypt, Yemen) the degree of reform that could be generated by a threat to withdraw aid is highly debatable. The use of aid conditionality as a tool to press for reform is nothing new, it's been tried many times, generally with mixed results, and it's been debated in the aid community for a long time. It's not necessarily a bad idea, but it's not a panacea either... and of course it can achieve nothing in states that don't get US aid.

I think overall you're assuming that the US has far more influence in these environments than it actually does. Overestimating one's own influence is often risky.
Dayuhan is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #125
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: 3,136
Default part 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
You always twist my message into one of "pro manipulation", and seem to think all is calm in the Middle East. You need to study the news coming out of there more closely. Suppressed insurgencies in states with controlled media don't necessarily scream in the headlines. You have to read the signs. The Saudis have been suppressing all of their Shiite populace and large portions of their Sunni populace since inception; and in the past 60 years they have manipulated our fear of oil disruption to suit their royal needs.
As I said before, I see a strong suggestion in your model, sometimes openly stated, that manipulation is desirable as long as we think that manipulation is in support of the populace... given our inability to know what the populace thinks or wants, that seems a very shaky idea to me.

I didn't say that all is calm in the Middle East. I do not see a broad pattern of resistance against (generally nonexistent) US influence, and I do not see a broad pattern of resistance to autocratic governance structures. I see a large number of countries, each trying to balance competing imperatives from various segments of its populace. Some do it well, some do it less well. It is rarely so simple as "unified populace rebels against despotic bad governance".

The whole issue of suppressed insurgency is I think debatable: an insurgency with real popular support is not so easy to suppress. I get the feeling that you're looking at governments that by your standards deserve an insurgency, and assuming that if there isn't one it must be suppressed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Governance is not Poor in the Middle East in many of our allied countries because I say so, but because the young men flocking to join AQ and local insurgent movements affiliated with AQ say so. And even larger cross sections of these same societies cutting checks and providing moral support say so as well. The people have no voice, but they are voting with their actions.
Please note that AQ has only succeeded in generating substantial support in cases where resistance to foreign intervention is involved: against the Soviets in Afghanistan, against the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. AQ's efforts to generate insurgency against governments in Muslim states have generally fallen pretty flat: AQ does not speak for the populace of Saudi Arabia, or any other populace. This suggests that the narrative driving AQ's recruitment and fund-raising is not "overthrow the despotic governance of your country and replace it with our even more despotic governance" but rather "expel the infidel from the land of the faithful". Many in the ME are perfectly happy to support AQ when they are battling foreign invaders in distant lands. When there's a prospect of AQ imposing their own brand of despotism at home, the reaction is very different. You're right, they are voting with their actions. They're voting against foreign engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are voting for themselves, not on behalf of a populace. Jumping from there to the idea that they are voting against bad governance in their own countries is an assumption with very shaky support.

I see the following weaknesses in the Jones Model:

1. There seems to be an assumption that all violence against a state is a backlash against despotic bad governance. That may be the case in some places, but it is not necessarily the case in all. In some cases violence against government can be a consequence of good governance: reforms or modernization that are desired by a majority can invoke a violent backlash from a disaffected minority.

We have to be very careful about assuming that terrorist violence is the outcome of popular resistance to despotic governance. Because terrorism lends itself to application by small groups of radicals with little popular support, it is often used by such groups. If Timothy McVeigh had the capacity to raise an insurgency or to draw a million supporters to march on Washington, he'd have done it. He didn't have that kind of support, so he blew up a building. That didn't make him a spokesperson for an insurgent populace, it made him a fringe nutter with a bomb.

We have to be very careful about assuming that violence is a popular backlash against bad governance. When we deal with a government that we are predisposed to dislike, we need to be triply careful about assuming that our prejudices are shared by the populace. We can't eliminate our prejudices, but if we're aware of them we can prevent them from controlling us.

2. You seem to use "bad governance" and "despotism" almost interchangeably. I don't see that bad governance is necessarily despotic: it may simply be inept or impotent. Insurgency can result from a popular backlash against a despotic government; it can just as easily result from conflict between different populaces with radically different ideas of what governance should be, and from government's inability to effectively manage divergent goals.

3. I see a tendency to assume that all governments can govern well if only they choose to, and thus that external pressure can force governments to choose to govern well. I think this fails to consider the process by which governance grows. When we see a government that governs well and suits the populaces it governs, it doesn't mean that this governance was well installed by some deus ex machina process, or that those who govern simply chose to govern well. It means that this government evolved to suit the conditions in which it governs. The process of this evolution often - in fact almost always - involves conflict and disagreement. It typically involves violence at some stage. It is not a process that can be jump-started or short-circuited by a foreign power telling the locals how to govern themselves or how to please their populace. They have to work it out themselves. The process is likely to be messy, just as it was for the US. What we see as an insurgency against a despotic government is likely one step along that evolutionary path. Messing with it, whether out of self-interest or imagined altruism, is generally going to make it worse.

Last edited by Dayuhan; 05-28-2010 at 01:41 AM.
Dayuhan is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #126
Steve the Planner
Council Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Maryland
Posts: 827
Default

Dahuyan:

What I keep coming back to is the fact that, when you burn it down, our civilian-military foreign engagement tools, tactics and strategies, are, in my opinion, out of kilter with the real world they are trying to engage with.

Personally, I see lots of points of positive engagements in so many places and circumstances, but they all seem to be roads not taken because they don't fit the tools we brought to the assignment.

Where is the evidence for success in any of the paths we are taking?

Now, Bob raised the issue of good vs. bad COIN, with much of the bad COIN seeming to fit within your model of contention--piecemeal, external meddling in matters outside our capabilities and proper sphere of engagement.

Let's help the marble companies in Jalalabad to improve the quality, accessibility and market linkages to broader markets, and help get nuts to markets that want nuts by assisting in overcoming the constraints of conflict (express flights to India?), but what does this have to do with the US military?

More prosperity will promote better governance and the ability to extend the writ of government, but only secondarily, and based on local choices and practical, sustainable local economics.

It's just silly to hear the DoS vs. DoD arguments about light and power for Kandahar. Who is going to pay for this if there is no local, national structure to operate and charge for services that folks can afford?

How did mission creep, or mission creeps, divert the Kandahar problem definitions away from the big picture (AWK) to tangential trinkets light street lighting? When was the US military or NG ever called in to wire a city? What is all this crap about? If AWK still rules Kandahar, which has no effective judges or justice, what are we really hoping to accomplish? Support for AWK?

The sad part of this is watching Obama set his clock for withdrawal based on the failures of DoD to deliver what it promised in October. He was trying to give them enough rope to tie up the bad guys, but it increasingly looks like they are getting tangled in the rope.

Alexander's skill was in cutting the Gordian Knot (usually by effective targeted battles, diplomacy and marriage). Where is an Alexander?

Bob's comment about "backing out," is, by default, what is in the cards, but why couldn't we do more with the resources we were given to leave a slightly better place?
Steve the Planner is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #127
slapout9
Council Member
 
slapout9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 4,808
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post

1. There seems to be an assumption that all violence against a state is a backlash against despotic bad governance. That may be the case in some places, but it is not necessarily the case in all. In some cases violence against government can be a consequence of good governance: reforms or modernization that are desired by a majority can invoke a violent backlash from a disaffected minority.
That is very true, when good governance takes hold the rich and powerful will loose some of their wealth and power in pursuit of justice for all. The rich elite are not interested in justice or legitimacy for anyone but themselves. And before they loose their power and wealth they may become very violent. And they have the capacity to disguise that it is actually them doing the violence. That doesn't mean you shouldn't go ahead and establish justice and legitimacy but you must be prepared for some nasty blow back.
slapout9 is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #128
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,703
Default Things I'll be thinking about during the Kabul 1/2 Marathon this morning

All of this is complex stuff. The Model I have worked up is intentionally designed to provide a simple, general framework to help sort through all of that complexity to focus on what is really important.

Also obvious, is that we all look at these problems through our own lenses, burdened by our own baggage. I certainly include myself in that assessment.

Take Wilf for example (please, god help me, somebody take Wilf!! ) We all know that he sees insurgency as war, and that popular discontent is only insurgency once it goes violent. At which point the military is sent in to defeat the violence. No more "insurgency." On the Jones mode I recognize that all of this happens on a continuum; and that there are, I believe, common factors, (as measured by the populaces perception, and yes, Dayuan, at some point one does have to make an assessment themselves of how it is they understand that popular perception to be).

So as governance gets more "Poor" the natural trend is for violence to rise. A leader of the dissident groups may opt for a non-violent approach, as Dr Maria Stephan advocates in her work. History shows that it is twice as likely to produce change where no legal means for change exists than violent approaches are. Or a governmental leader may have such charisma, like Mr. Obama, that the populace is temporarily satisfied with what would otherwise be assessed as poor; or greater external threats, like a WWII going on, may cause a populace to accept greater poorness; or the military may suppress violence and create a perception of goodness.

So, yes, the British Empire was very much an economic empire, of which the US Empire is derived. Cost/Benefit analysis and spread sheets driving decisions. Did the China or India become less productive? Did the Middle East begin to produce less oil or the Suez canal become less important? Did the American Colonies become less productive and show less potential? No on all counts. Sure, not all moved all the way up the Jones model into full blown, in your face classic insurgency. Some only moved so far as to make the Juice no longer worth the proverbial Squeeze. The Costs of occupation exceeded the Benefit of Occupation. Certainly factors at home, like the great costs and disruptions of WWI and II factor in, but if the colony could have contributed to digging out of the hole it would have been retained. Those major disruptions served to shift the equation adequately so as to allow the suppressed to make the cost exceed the benefit and prevail.

Now, Dayuhan says how can Saudi Arabia (The decisive point for GWOT IMO) be brought into such conversations, they receive no support from the US, the opposite is true he says. Really? The Saudis sell us discount oil in exchange for our commitment to defend them against all threats, foreign and domestic?? I know the Gulf War was a while ago, but I still remember. The Saudis have three great fears: 1. Iran. 2. Shia in general, but particularly the large oppressed Shia populace whose lands lay within Saudi Arabia atop half of their oil. 3 There entire oppressed populace as a whole. When it comes to countering insurgency, the Saudis never let the grass grow too tall. The should be pros at this, they have been doing it since their inception. Now they get to do it with the full blessing and sanction of the US because they call it "counterterrorism."


Now, entropy points out the importance of control. But I think you really need to assess just what you mean by control. Is control the ability of the state to prevent popular action, or is control the willingness of the populace to submit to government policy and rules????

Does a jockey "control" his horse? Yes, but the horse could turn and kill the jockey whenever it chose to do so.

Does a single police officer in an intersection "control" traffic? Yes, but again, only so long as the populace driving the cars consents to submit to his rules.

Bottom line is that control is a tenuous thing, and is really more of a misnomer than most of us probably think about when we use the word. I am sure I could plot another line on my model to show how much effort must be exerted by a government to "control" as governance moves from "Goodness" to "Badness."

Oh, and yes, I do use "Despotism" interchangeably with "Poor Governance." I am a huge fan of the American story, of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and our Bill of Rights. These documents are ground zero for anyone who wants to study Insurgency and COIN. If they are not on your shelf next to your Galua and Kitson, you missing some critical links in your chain of knowledge.

The US was born of insurgency. We formally recognize the duty and right of a populace to rise up in insurgency when faced with Despotism. Powerful stuff. Then we added a Bill of Rights that when one reads with the eyes of an insurgent/counterinsurgent, one sees how it was designed to specifically prevent a government from doing things that were key to the causal perceptions of Poor Governance going into the revolt with England; and also in preserving key powers and rights in the populace to allow them to always be so informed, so strong, as to keep any government in check.

Good input guys.
__________________
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  
Old 05-28-2010   #129
Entropy
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,457
Default

Col. Jones,

By "control" I generally mean the ability to enforce your governance (whatever it is) and prevent competitors. In your example it's not enough, in my view, to simply provide a justice system - even one that's perceived as superior to the Taliban's - one must also have the capacity to enforce adherence to that system's decisions as well as to credibly prevent competition ranging from vigilantism to a full-blown shadow government.

In other words, building a system of justice is not the same thing as actually providing justice. For the latter you need much more than judicial institutions. "If you build it, they will come" does not apply.

We can build courthouses, we can train people to operate a judicial system and teach them the concepts of law, etc. All that is wasted if the Taliban can come in, post a bunch of night letters and assassinate a few judges as examples. If you can't prevent the Taliban from doing that, then what credibility do you have with the populace? Why should they trust your justice system if you can't even do that?

So I'm skeptical that it's possible to focus on one discrete part of government (ie. Justice) and work only on that. I'm skeptical that one government good can be singled out and improved or implemented without improving the governance system more generally. Governance is probably more interrelated that it initially appears.
__________________
Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.
Entropy is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #130
slapout9
Council Member
 
slapout9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 4,808
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Entropy View Post

We can build courthouses, we can train people to operate a judicial system and teach them the concepts of law, etc. All that is wasted if the Taliban can come in, post a bunch of night letters and assassinate a few judges as examples. If you can't prevent the Taliban from doing that, then what credibility do you have with the populace? Why should they trust your justice system if you can't even do that?
That is one point where the old Special Forces model would be superior to what is being done today. WE (USA) wouldn't being building, doing or fighting anybody or anyone except in immediate self defense. WE would be teaching the Afghans to do it through Guerrilla forces-CA units-and PSYOPS. If the Taliban showed up with a night letter they would get their throat cut by an.....Afghan village resistance fighter..... not a US soldier. In the old school the US wouldn't even use a term like "winning" because the mission is to teach the indigenous population to win not for us (USA) to win because if we did it would destroy the credibility of the local government. My 2 cents.
slapout9 is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #131
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,703
Default You are arguing with an example of how to operationalize, not with the model

Quote:
Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
Col. Jones,

By "control" I generally mean the ability to enforce your governance (whatever it is) and prevent competitors. In your example it's not enough, in my view, to simply provide a justice system - even one that's perceived as superior to the Taliban's - one must also have the capacity to enforce adherence to that system's decisions as well as to credibly prevent competition ranging from vigilantism to a full-blown shadow government.

In other words, building a system of justice is not the same thing as actually providing justice. For the latter you need much more than judicial institutions. "If you build it, they will come" does not apply.

We can build courthouses, we can train people to operate a judicial system and teach them the concepts of law, etc. All that is wasted if the Taliban can come in, post a bunch of night letters and assassinate a few judges as examples. If you can't prevent the Taliban from doing that, then what credibility do you have with the populace? Why should they trust your justice system if you can't even do that?

So I'm skeptical that it's possible to focus on one discrete part of government (ie. Justice) and work only on that. I'm skeptical that one government good can be singled out and improved or implemented without improving the governance system more generally. Governance is probably more interrelated that it initially appears.
Read the paper. There are 4 causal perceptions as assessed through the eyes of the populace. Does the populace perceive that the system of law as applied to them to be just. In the example the way determined to help build this perception is through providing quality justice workers, retaining them through good pay, keeping them safe in secure homes and offices, and putting them where the populace has access. It's just an example, not a universal cure for perceptions of injustice. You must assess all perceptions and strive to work all of them.

I would argue, however that you have "control" as a first order effect or even a task; whereas I see it as a second order effect. So you might put is in the CR box, I would have it in the CC box. IF one can produce Good Governance, then one will have "control" over their populace. One can have very Poor Governance indeed, and exert extreme control (task) over the populace to keep them in line. That is no state I want to live in. You just described a dictatorship. Oh, like the Saudis. They control the populace. No place I'd want to be a citizen of.

Here in Afghanistan we don't focus on building perceptions of Justice, in fact we are focusing on imposing "Rule of Law" instead. God how I hate that phrase, and I am a former Prosecutor. It smacks of the "control" you speak of. I for one do not want to live in a state that exists to control my behavior. Obviously they all do to some degree, or it is Anarchy, but it is all in the degree and the means applied. Good Governance is a nuance one must always be tuned into, or you can quickly find that what once worked is no longer producing the same effect and you are slipping in the wrong direction.
__________________
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; 05-28-2010 at 06:34 AM.
Bob's World is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #132
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: 3,136
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
at some point one does have to make an assessment themselves of how it is they understand that popular perception to be).
Of course we make assessments. When we propose to act on those assessments, though, we do well to remind ourselves that we are acting on our own assessments, which are colored by our own prejudices and preconceptions. We are not acting on behalf of a foreign populace.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
So as governance gets more "Poor" the natural trend is for violence to rise. A leader of the dissident groups may opt for a non-violent approach, as Dr Maria Stephan advocates in her work. History shows that it is twice as likely to produce change where no legal means for change exists than violent approaches are.
As I said before, non-violent political action is extremely effective if the cause in question has widespread public support. It wouldn’t have worked for Timothy McVeigh in the US, and it wouldn’t have worked for OBL in Saudi Arabia, for the same reason: they didn’t have the level of support required to make non-violent action effective. Most terrorist groups are in this position, that’s why they resort to terrorism. 300 people waving signs outside a capital is a joke. 300 people going on strike is barely noticed. 300 people setting off bombs in public places is a major event. So if 300 people want a major event, what do they do? Pretty obvious, really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Now, Dayuhan says how can Saudi Arabia (The decisive point for GWOT IMO) be brought into such conversations, they receive no support from the US, the opposite is true he says. Really? The Saudis sell us discount oil in exchange for our commitment to defend them against all threats, foreign and domestic?? I know the Gulf War was a while ago, but I still remember. The Saudis have three great fears: 1. Iran. 2. Shia in general, but particularly the large oppressed Shia populace whose lands lay within Saudi Arabia atop half of their oil. 3 There entire oppressed populace as a whole. When it comes to countering insurgency, the Saudis never let the grass grow too tall. The should be pros at this, they have been doing it since their inception. Now they get to do it with the full blessing and sanction of the US because they call it "counterterrorism."
I don’t think there is a decisive point for GWOT, because I don’t think there is a GWOT: the term was invented because it made a good sound bite and has persisted with little question, but I don’t think any such thing really exists.

Do the Saudis sell us discount oil? Since when? As far as I know we pay market price for Saudi oil. Once upon a time they used to shave a few cents to keep the market share, which they found useful in diplomatic situations, but they don’t do that now.

Of course we protected the Saudis from external aggression, and of course we’d do it again in the unlikely event that they were threatened by the Iranians. That’s not defense of the Saudi regime, it’s defense of our own interests: letting the bulk of the Gulf oil reserves fall under the control of an overtly hostile power is not and would not be an acceptable outcome for the US, no matter how we feel about the Saudi government. We could threaten that we won’t come to the aid of the Saudis in the event of foreign aggression if they don’t do what we want, but the threat would be hollow, we and they both know it… and it’s not likely that such a threat would earn us any points with any segment of the Saudi populace. Rather the opposite.

Do we have a commitment to defend the Saudis against domestic threats? Not that I know of… and again, threatening to withhold such defense wouldn’t mean much, as the Saudis don’t face any internal threat that they can’t manage themselves. The only time I recall the Saudis asking for external help with an internal security issue was during the seizure of the Grand Mosque back in ’79… and they asked the French. Again, there’s no leverage here that’s going to force the Saudi regime to change their domestic policies.

Of course the Saudis buy arms from us, but those deals are as much to our advantage as theirs: we need the income and the jobs and if we stopped selling the Saudis could buy hardware elsewhere with the greatest of ease.

The Saudi regime’s relationship with its populace is in any event far better today than it was in the 90s, when the economic dislocation of the oil glut and the American military presence provided continuing irritants. The regime dealt with the problem in a most American way: they threw money at it. Lots of money, hundreds of billions. Since the oil price surge the Saudis have poured huge amounts into public sector salary increases, job-creating industries, infrastructure, schools, housing, health care, etc, etc. Of course it’s a straight buyout, but it’s been pretty successful at buying popular passivity. The royals seem to think that most of the populace is quite ok with being ruled by a medieval anachronism as long as the medieval anachronism delivers the goods. So far it looks like they’re right. Of course they haven’t pleased everyone, nobody ever does. Of course it’s not a permanent solution… but that’s not our problem, it’s theirs.

I very much doubt that any portion of the Saudi populace wants to see the US pressuring the Saudi government to do anything. No matter how well-intentioned such pressure actually was, it would be invariably interpreted as self-interested meddling and would provide a propaganda bonanza for anti-American forces. As in many other areas, foreign support for a reform agenda can actually discredit that agenda by making it seem like something that was initiated from the outside.

I’m curious, though… what exactly do you think we could do to force the Saudis to modify their domestic policies, and what specific modifications in Saudi domestic policy would you seek?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Oh, and yes, I do use "Despotism" interchangeably with "Poor Governance."
I'm not sure the equivalence is valid. Certainly by our standards all despotism is bad governance... though as you've said yourself, our standards don't matter, and if the populace is ok with what we think despotic, it's none of our business. But can you not imagine a circumstance in which governance is neither despotic nor good? What if governance is simply inept, or missing? That's not necessarily despotism, but it's not good governance either.

All despotism may be bad governance, but I don't see how that makes all bad governance despotism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
I am a huge fan of the American story, of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and our Bill of Rights.
So am I. Brilliant documents, and they've done wonderful things for us. If you want to go on a mission to bring them to the rest of the world, though, please stop the train and let me off, because I see a monumental crash coming.
Dayuhan is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #133
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,703
Default

My point was that the Saudis DO NOT sell us discount oil in exchange for commiting our national treasure, reputation and blood to their continued defense. They see it as their right.

The Saudis look at the American Military and Oil Industry Engineers, and perhaps even our leadership, in the same way they look at the thousands of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Philippino, etc workers they import to deal with other dirty work that is beneath them.

Most Saudi's want moderate reforms, such as a judiciary not controlled by the King (Justice, anyone?); Others would like to have some voice (Hope) in the system; others greater equality (Respect); many perceive (and this perception is targeted heavily by OBL, who is not a Saudi insurgent, he is conducting UW to incite and leverage the Saudi populace to rise up) that the King would not be such a bad guy but that he has lost his way in eroding his support to what the people want in favor of his relationship with the US, thereby calling his (legitimacy) into question.

I also would never promote pushing US Values onto others; principles that we buy into perhaps, but always urge that we resist the tendency to see how we do something as the way everyone else needs to do the same things (Democracy, womens rights, corruption, etc) We come across as judgmental A-holes when we do that. My point is that the documents I mention have powerfull COIN mechanism woven into them due to their origin in Insurgency. There are great lessons for those who look and think.

Every culture is different and needs to develop guiding documents and forms of govenrance that work for them. But there are principles that can be derived from American documents that are proven effective in the prevention of Governmental abuses and the resultant insurgency that comes from such abuses. (and no, the American Civil War was not insurgency; there are lessons there as well. But anytime an emotional, economic issue divides a country geographically, it is a red flag that all should take seriously).
__________________
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  
Old 05-28-2010   #134
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: 3,136
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
My point was that the Saudis DO NOT sell us discount oil in exchange for commiting our national treasure, reputation and blood to their continued defense. They see it as their right.
Possibly they simply see it as a mutual interest, which it is. We defend the Saudis against external aggression because it is in our interest to do so. Why would we expect to be paid, or given concessions, for acting in our own interest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Most Saudi's want moderate reforms, such as a judiciary not controlled by the King (Justice, anyone?); Others would like to have some voice (Hope) in the system; others greater equality (Respect); many perceive (and this perception is targeted heavily by OBL, who is not a Saudi insurgent, he is conducting UW to incite and leverage the Saudi populace to rise up) that the King would not be such a bad guy but that he has lost his way in eroding his support to what the people want in favor of his relationship with the US, thereby calling his (legitimacy) into question.
I wouldn't presume to know what most Saudis want.

I do know that in the 90s many Saudis believed (and stated) that there was a connection between the continued American military presence and the painfully low (for them) price of oil. That perception was inaccurate, but it was widespread and had an extremely negative impact on Saudi perceptions of the US. There was a widespread belief that the US troops would never leave, that the US would never allow Saudi Arabia to get what they saw as a fair price for oil, that the US would never allow Saudi Arabia the international position that they thought it deserved, that the US would ultimately begin converting Muslims and violating the holy places, etc. Those beliefs created a great deal of resentment and friction. They are also gone. The American troops are gone, the holy places are unviolated, no conversions happened. The price of oil soared, and the US just paid up, like everyone else. At the height of the oil price spike President Bush went to Riyadh to ask the king to pump more oil; the King told him that the problem was speculation, not supply, and refused. The regional implications of that visit, long forgotten by most Americans, are profound. The claim that the US controls the king is empty, and everyone knows it but the most blinded religious extremists.

I don't think any significant number of Saudis see any connection between US influence and their own complaints with the local justice system... or any other local issues. There's a great deal of internal conflict on these issues, generally between (relative) progressives and the religious traditionalists, but the US has no real influence on internal affairs. I've heard all kinds of accusations directed at the US by Saudis, many of them pretty wild, but I've never heard anyone claim that the US is obstructing reform in the Saudi justice system. I've heard a lot of complaint about US pressure to reform that justice system in accord with our view of human rights, but nobody saying that the US is preventing change or reform.

I repeat... what exactly do you think we could do to force the Saudis to modify their domestic policies, and what specific modifications in Saudi domestic policy would you seek?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Every culture is different and needs to develop guiding documents and forms of govenrance that work for them. But there are principles that can be derived from American documents that are proven effective in the prevention of Governmental abuses and the resultant insurgency that comes from such abuses.
Possibly so, and there are lessons as well in the founding principles and experiences of many other nations. If others choose to learn from these, or use them as models, all well and good. We can't force anyone to do that, and if we try to push anyone in that direction we're likely to end up driving them away from it. People don't like to be pushed, and it's not our role or responsibility to be telling others how to govern themselves. To help, perhaps, if we're asked to help... and even then we have to be very careful and very restrained. But to take the initiative in some sort of behaviour modification program aimed at other nations... nothing there but trouble, I'm afraid. If we go around telling people not to despair, we are coming to save them with our carrots and our sticks, I really don't anticipate a very positive reaction.
Dayuhan is offline  
Old 05-28-2010   #135
slapout9
Council Member
 
slapout9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 4,808
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
Possibly so, and there are lessons as well in the founding principles and experiences of many other nations. If others choose to learn from these, or use them as models, all well and good. We can't force anyone to do that, and if we try to push anyone in that direction we're likely to end up driving them away from it. People don't like to be pushed, and it's not our role or responsibility to be telling others how to govern themselves. To help, perhaps, if we're asked to help... and even then we have to be very careful and very restrained. But to take the initiative in some sort of behaviour modification program aimed at other nations... nothing there but trouble, I'm afraid. If we go around telling people not to despair, we are coming to save them with our carrots and our sticks, I really don't anticipate a very positive reaction.

Important points and I think you and Col. Jones are closer to the same concepts than you think. If you use the Jones model as I understand it, all you would be doing is helping that country establish the good government that it wants not what we (US) want. The real problem as I see it is if you ask a local population the 4 questions we (US) may get answers that we don't like. And because of that we may have to face the fact that sometimes we should just leave people (other countries) alone.
slapout9 is offline  
Old 12-21-2010   #136
Bob's World
Council Member
 
Bob's World's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,703
Default

A couple of minor, yet significant refinements:

I believe that an essential concept for understanding insurgency, and by correlation, being able to design and implement effective COIN campaigns, is that of "Conditions of Insurgency" that are present in every society, but that fluctuate based upon popular perceptions of governance.

My definition as I currently think of this concept:

"Conditions of Insurgency: A state of mind. The conditions of insurgency arguably exist to some degree within every populace. In most cases such conditions are benign in that they are not strong enough to support the rise of a significant insurgent organization, even if manipulated by outside actors conducting UW or by ideological themes designed for this audience. As perceptions of poor governance increase so does the degree of the conditions of insurgency. Left unchecked these conditions are apt to be exploited by internal and/or external parties for purposes of their own that may or may not have the welfare of the affected populace in mind. Conditions of insurgency are caused by the government and assessed through the perspective of the populace."

And an updated chart to show what this might look like:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Slide1.JPG (94.1 KB, 287 views)
__________________
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  
Old 12-21-2010   #137
slapout9
Council Member
 
slapout9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 4,808
Default

Bob, so what would be an outline to counter these conditions?
slapout9 is offline  
Closed Thread

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 06:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation