2012/10/17

It's apparently difficult to predict the next war

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Yet again, another author is concerned by the U.S. military's inability to predict the next war maybe 5+ years ahead.

by Michael Zenko, Foreign Policy

I suppose that's not an uncommon human and institutional imperfection.

At the same time, I do care about it 100% in 0% of the time.

Focus on deterrence for peace and eventual actual defence and you don't need to worry where you'll go to for the next stupid war. The next war will come to you, and battles will be fought on a battlefield you know well and in a mode you know well.
That is, if war happens at all. You might be successful in winning the peace instead. The U.S. military had a much better track record at this, with only two exceptions (one was about imperial policy and an attack on a mere overseas territory while the other was a mere crime).

S Ortmann
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7 comments:

  1. If Dempsey's mentioned comment to the submariner is anything to go by, and if I've interpreted it correctly, the military excursions are really just to keep them busy.

    But then, if the "market" for regional conflicts stagnated, what would the defence contractors do? They need the boogeyman to develop and sell overpriced, overcomplex, unreliable and useless equipment for the military to build illogical and flawed doctrines around. And what would happen to all the PowerPoints? There'd hardly be any buzzwords coming out every year...

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    1. The quote from Dempsey is clearly about to try to not prepare for the last war.

      My point is that all the uncertainty goes away if you simply focus on (collective) defence.
      Many Americans believe that hell would break loose if they stopped playing global policeman (although their self-perception is not globally shared) and that the Chinese would invade other countries and grab territory, resources.

      As if they weren't BUYING the latter (plantations, mines, oil drilling licenses) already with dollars earned by selling the Americans electronics and plastics stuff.

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    2. ("all the uncertainty" merely meant uncertainty about locations, of course. My reply was inaccurate.)

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    3. Oh, I have to admit I didn't see it that clearly at first. Some criticism has been levelled against the F-22 because it hasn't been in use in Afghanistan/Iraq, and I figured they'd have to justify keeping submarines and other "traditional" parts of the military that can't patrol the streets of Kabul.

      The rant of my comment is probably more relevant for my own country. The military has spent the better part of the 21st century trying to find ways to keep its size from decreasing too far. The result of that is rather strange and unbalanced in areas.

      I probably shouldn't have commented so fast; haven't slept much for the past week.

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  2. If you wage a war of aggression you can be pretty precise on the date.
    The US currently has an urge to show military muscle. If they reverted to isolationism some things in this world will actually become worse as the US despite all criticism and faults is still a force of some goodness. In the modern post-colonial era it's been a habit to shower occupied lands with cash and kind as a herbicide against insurgents. People like the Taleeban don't take a shower because they have heroine and pretty little physical and mental installation capabilities for showerheads.

    Kurt

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    1. "If you wage a war of aggression you can be pretty precise on the date."
      In theory - yes. Hitler did ask for readiness for a defensive war till 1940 and his naval procurement plan reached into 1947 (written as late as 1939!).
      The war came in '39, though.

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    2. I know that story, but I'm not sure the official documents were meant to reflect his course of action in a predictable manner. The navy plan was always nonsense, even the later approach going asymmetric for submarines only. They might have learned a bit from the US naval preparations, especially dual use production.
      The war starting in 1939 was due to a stagged event with the explicit intention of making war and with the backing of the Soviets to ruin the blockade. I see it as an excuse to accelerate the war economy for a premature finish. I would bet on France and the UK taking preparations to keep up with the output of the German rearmament after Germany had reached the treshold of acceptable regained national dignity. Insofar you are right that even the Reich could not arbitrarily choose the date of their armed robbery campaign and they were indebting themselves into time constrains. But they are not the only example of a war of aggression, take Frederick II or Bismarck.

      Kurt

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