Author Topic: US Foreign Policy  (Read 235713 times)


DougMacG

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Re: Churchill
« Reply #901 on: April 07, 2019, 03:49:14 PM »
https://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-winston-churchill-museum-in-missouri-50th-year-20190405-story.html?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR25fhHwN9ZTyqYssJwW22_VPfp9TlktNyDlnFdNW1G5PudvH5wtTxwhx6A

Nice publicity for the college BD.

I have long believed the UN, if the US is to host it, should meet somewhere in middle America, not NYC.

I wonder if Churchill's medical prohibition doctor note is in the museum:


DougMacG

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US Foreign Policy, 5 Very Important Things About the World Nobody Knows
« Reply #902 on: April 08, 2019, 08:28:33 AM »
https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/04/02/5-very-important-things-about-the-world-nobody-knows/

5 Very Important Things About the World Nobody Knows
The future will be determined by a handful of big questions that don’t yet have answers.
[More at the link on each.]
...
China’s future trajectory.
...
How good are America’s cybercapabilities?
...
What’s going to happen to the EU?
...
How many states will go nuclear in the next 20 years?
...
Who will win the debate on U.S. grand strategy?
...

Crafty_Dog

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George Friedman: The Haka
« Reply #903 on: April 16, 2019, 07:30:27 AM »
April 16, 2019
By George Friedman


Doing the Haka


Despite the furor that rages, the world appears to be quietly moving along.


In New Zealand, the Maoris have a ceremonial dance called the haka. Today it’s performed at rugby matches and consists of the New Zealanders making stylized threatening gestures, including sticking out their tongues at their competitors, crouching, jumping and chanting. It is deeply rooted in Maori history, but for all its energy and passion, it does not do what it is intended to do, which is frighten their opponents, and the rugby match goes on.

The political history of humankind is filled with the haka and the violence that was meant to come next. Even at the great turning points, the deepest agonies of humanity, life went on. This was no comfort to those caught in the moment. They died, but in the end, so did everyone. That is of course too Olympian a perspective for most of us, and certainly for those of us with children and grandchildren, but there is a terrible truth to it.

On a lesser level, there are moments when the haka goes on, when all sides are determined to frighten each other and frighten the world, yet it means no more than what it means at a rugby match. Coming back down to earth, we seem to be at a moment like that. The furor rages, but the world appears to be quietly moving along.

The Americans and the Chinese have been locked in a “trade war.” There has been great anticipation of catastrophe for both sides, yet the world remains unchanged save for the noise.

The North Koreans have nuclear weapons. The Americans don’t want them to. Each meeting is greeted with the expectation that something will happen. Apart from each side pulling frightening faces, nothing does.

Russia continues to lick its wounds after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of Ukraine. Threatening gestures are made in places that hardly matter to Moscow, like Syria, and Russia struggles with the price of oil, but little of substance takes place.

On the Continent, there are those who regard the European Union as the source of Europe’s redemption, others who see it as a necessary evil, and still others who see it merely as evil. Each faction has utter contempt for the other and makes frightening faces, but nothing comes of it.

In the Middle East, the lines shift as Arabs and Israelis face the Iranians in a battle never really joined. The Kurds and the Palestinians demand statehood, but both are still far from reaching their goal.

And in the United States, Donald Trump is president and the Democrats despise him. Each day, each side invents a new way to hurl contempt, and the viewers are enthralled by the venom. But at the end of the day, Trump sleeps in the White House and those who feel this is outrageous demonstrate their outrage.

There are, of course, places where terrible things are happening, and they must not be dismissed. But such dreadful things have been going on for a long while and will likely continue beyond our time.

This is not the normal condition of the world. Think of the 2008 financial crisis and the great movement of global power that it incited, with China staggering economically and Europe fragmenting politically. These are not moments but rather unfolding trends. Nothing is settled, even when things come to a standstill, as they appear to be now. Nothing is leading to anywhere. Trade wars continue without coming to a head, nuclear talks lead nowhere, gestures of power remain gestures, and ancient animosities continue to show themselves. And the politics of the time plod on, resembling a haka more than any great historical moment.

In one sense, it has always been this way, the blood and fury flowing while humanity goes on. At other moments, they are the signs of a period that has exhausted itself. That is what our current moment looks like. What 2008 created has run its course, and the world is waiting for the next act in the never-ending drama. But such moments of meaningless paralysis can continue a long time; in retrospect, they are good times, but in the moment, they frustrate those who aspire to great things. It is a moment of mediocrity, in which the haka challenges the course of history, but it does not capture the moment that is coming.
The problem is that once the haka has been danced, eventually the game begins. We seem to be in the haka interlude, with dances meant to inspire terror being performed and onlookers seeing the performance as merely odd. But the period of gestures will end. Where the future war will break out is truly unclear. At the moment, none of these hakas warrant war. But wars never seem to warrant violence until they are underway.

The world, as always, is filled with genuine issues that affect nations profoundly. In due course, the gestures end and the issues are settled. Some of the lesser issues can be resolved with calm discussion. It is the most significant ones that transit from the gesture to the conflict. It is rare that all explode at once. But equally rare that none explode at all.



Crafty_Dog

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George Friedman: The Nature of Nations
« Reply #904 on: April 18, 2019, 09:59:18 AM »
April 18, 2019



By George Friedman


The Nature of Nations


Over the past few weeks, I have discussed the relationship between geography and the evolution of three countries: the United States, Australia and Hungary. A key distinction I drew between them was that the United States and Australia were invented countries while Hungary was an organic country. This week, we’ll examine this idea further.
Invented Nations, Organic Nations

The American and Australian nations were forged from migrants who crafted a political system that defined them. In both countries, the political system and its moral principles – along with the social principle that each newly arrived citizen must set his own course and take responsibility for his own condition – defined them. This enabled the simultaneous absorption of migrants into the system and the retention of their familial memory. It was possible, and even necessary, for migrants to graft their own psyches onto an overarching commitment to the national regime and the culture it created, while preserving a residual recollection of where they came from. This was not simply something for recent immigrants. The descendants of the first English immigrants became Americans and Australians through the regimes, but centuries later, they still remembered that they were once English and that they owed something to that past.

This complex identity emerged from the need to invent something different than what existed. The immigrants faced a geography of a vast land occupied by other nations, and they felt a compulsion to create a new reality on that land. The creation of that new reality was in many ways driven by the reality they faced rather than a clear plan. It was a process of ongoing invention and self-invention that bore new nations while embedding in the national psyche the complex tension between the immigrants’ hunger to leave the past and their hunger to retain it.

Hungary, an organic country, is a different case. A Hungarian living in Hungary has a single identity. His family’s past is Hungarian, his mother tongue is Hungarian, and so on. Most important, he is Hungarian no matter what the regime is. And yet, when we step back and think of the origin of organic nations like Hungary, we see they all came from somewhere and they all displaced someone. They just did so a long time ago. Hungary’s history is blurred by time, but at some point between the 6th and 9th centuries, the Hungarian tribes crossed over the Carpathian Mountains and displaced tribes that were already there.
The difference between the United States or Australia and Hungary is not that the Hungarians did not displace native peoples on occupying the land. It was more radical. The Hungarians existed independent of the land and prior to coming to the place where they finally settled; the Americans and Australians as peoples were invented after coming to the land. The Hungarians had community and identity independent of place; the Americans and Australians built it after coming to the land, partly from the land but mostly from the moral and legal principles of their nations. The Hungarians were bound to their people; the Americans, in particular, were bound to the principles of the regime.

This striking difference is illustrated in two very different pledges. In the 9th century, once settled in the Carpathian Basin, seven Hungarian tribal leaders took a blood oath. Although the Hungarian people preceded it, it was on this oath that Hungary as a nation was founded. In contrast, American armed forces pledge to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” – not specifically to defend the land or the people.

Land, People, Regime

When we think of a nation, we think of three components: the land, the people and the regime. In the American and Australian cases, the identity of the people was always somewhat ambiguous. It was the regime, constitution, laws and moral principles that bound the nation together. The land evolved over time. In the case of Hungary, the land was taken, the people were the absolute, and the blood oath joined the tribes, which were already Magyars, into one.

There is much criticism of modern settler countries displacing native populations. But most nation-states came into existence by displacing someone else. The Hungarian case is simply one in which the conquest took place so long ago, and the destruction of the native peoples – who either were killed or simply scattered – was so total that there is no moral question. The moral question arises with the United States, Australia and other recently founded nations, because the deed is still remembered. The uncomfortable truth is that the creation of one nation requires that another pay some price.

Most people who think about geopolitics think in terms of the interaction of geography and people. But in this equation, the people are a very complex variable. Geography provides imperatives for survival, but geopolitics does not exclude the origins and nature of community, nor the moral character of the nation. And, therefore, it doesn’t ignore the political regimes that emerge.

The difference between the Hungarian blood oath and the American military oath is striking. The first was a pledge to the unity of the people; the second was a pledge of loyalty to the Constitution even against the people if necessary. The blood tied the Hungarians together. The regime and its principles tied the Americans together. The Australians define themselves based on place, though their history makes their moral commitment complex. Still, the moral derives from the necessary – and the necessary begins with place.



Crafty_Dog

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Newt Gingrich: Wei Qi-- America's Key to Victory
« Reply #906 on: April 24, 2019, 07:37:42 PM »
For my fellow geopolitical junkie friends:

Wei Qi – America’s Key to Victory

China is inevitably seeking global dominance across multiple domains. This has become clear as China hosts more than 40 world leaders in Beijing this week for the second international forum on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – with Vladimir Putin as the guest of honor. Axios’ Mike Allen wrote, “When you can get that many powerful people to come to you in Beijing, you're starting to look a lot like a superpower.”

Dave Lawler with Axios also notes that the BRI infrastructure effort is only one part of “China's plan to supplant the U.S. as the dominant global superpower within the next three decades.” In addition to the BRI, China’s aggressive tactics used in the race to 5G, the militarization of the South China Sea, the theft of intellectual property, and discriminatory business practices all work collectively to advance China’s economic, military, and political influence across the globe.

In my new book Trump vs China: America’s Greatest Challenge, which will be released in October, I describe China’s challenge to the rules-based world order and how, as a result, American interests and security are being put at risk.

Sun Tzu, one of the most famous (and possibly legendary) Chinese military thinkers stressed that you must know both yourself and your opponent in order to be successful in competitions. According to Sun Tzu, the attributed author of The Art of War, by having an understanding of both contenders, “you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
China is the most serious and formidable competitor that the United States now faces. It is essential to examine Chinese tactics and strategic thinking to better position the U.S. for this new era of competition. It will affect the future of our country for generations to come.

One of the most revealing comparisons to Chinese strategy is the game wei qi, which is said to have originated in China thousands of years ago. Wei qi – more commonly known by its Japanese name, “go,” in the West – is a game played with two players using a checkered board lined with 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines. One player has 180 white round stones and another has 181 black round stones. The players take turns placing their stones on the board one at a time on the intersections of the checker lines. The goal of the game is to capture the most territory either by encircling empty spaces or your opponent’s pieces on the board. The player with the most territory after all the pieces have been played, or after both players pass on their turns, wins.

Go is an incredibly complex game due to the number of possible moves and board configurations. As the game progresses, there are multiple invasions, engagements, fights, and confrontations between players that occur in all different areas of the board at the same time. Moreover, it is a lengthy game that requires players to capitalize on short-term victories – but to never lose sight of the long-term strategy.

In a paper analyzing Chinese strategic thinking, Dr. David Lai, now the research professor of Asian Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, argues that the Chinese approach to strategy is reflected in go. The American approach to strategic thinking, Lai argues, is reflected in chess.

American strategy relies on our technological superiority and capabilities. The U.S. focuses on force-on-force competition that seeks the result of total victory over the opponent. In chess, there are pieces that are more powerful than others that are deployed with the objective of capturing the opponent’s king. Every move is directed toward protecting your own king and seizing your opponent’s. In this way, chess is narrowly focused.

Chess players must also preserve their stronger pieces to keep the balance of power in their favor and ensure a better chance of victory. The player with the most powerful pieces in play during the game will likely win.

Henry Kissinger notes in his book, On China, “If chess is about the decisive battle, wei qi is about the protracted campaign.”
In go, every stone is equal. Players can unleash massive amounts of potential power by creatively and tactfully placing their stones. All stones that are placed on the board work in close connection with one another, as each individual is a part of a larger, bigger strategy.

Moreover, in go there are multiple campaigns, pursuits, battles, and maneuvers happening at the same time across the board. As the board is constantly changing in complex, subtle, and dynamic ways, players must always have a sharp awareness of the overall situation. Due to the number of possibilities where players can place their stones and the limited number of stones available, players must know when to fight for or defend territory. More importantly, they must know when to let it go.
In an evenly matched game, go is a competition of simultaneous incremental victories. Total, decisive, and complete defeat of an opponent is not typically an attainable objective. Usually, games are won by just a few points.
Dr. Lai notes that playing go with a chess approach is dangerous. Similarly, it will be dangerous for the U.S. to continue to approach the challenges we face with China without understanding and seeing the totality and breadth of their strategy.

China has already placed numerous stones on the board – such as artificially low Huawei 5G equipment prices, government loans to Belt and Road countries, building islands in the South China Sea, and forced technology transfers.
These stones work together in pursuit of various territorial acquisitions that will (in partnership with other stones) yield 5G dominance, control of the South China Sea, and economic superiority.

We must examine all of these campaigns – in addition to others – collectively. We must understand this go-based approach, rather than look at each endeavor as an independent challenge. Each of China’s campaigns work in concert with one another and will ultimately result in China’s emergence as a global hegemon. China’s current aggressive tactics will eventually undermine the United States, jeopardize our security, hurt our economy, compromise our values, and alter our way of life.

Those trying to understand the challenges that the United States now faces with China need to learn how to play go. The National Go Center has very helpful resources and events for players of all levels.

Moreover, the United States must develop an American-based strategy in this new era of competition that is focused on our strength, capabilities, ingenuity, and American spirit. Only then can we ensure that that the U.S. will emerge prosperous, successful, and stronger than ever.
Your Friend,
Newt

G M

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Re: Newt Gingrich: Wei Qi-- America's Key to Victory
« Reply #907 on: April 27, 2019, 10:55:24 PM »
I strongly suspect China is using AI to plan out it’s global strategy.



For my fellow geopolitical junkie friends:

Wei Qi – America’s Key to Victory

China is inevitably seeking global dominance across multiple domains. This has become clear as China hosts more than 40 world leaders in Beijing this week for the second international forum on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – with Vladimir Putin as the guest of honor. Axios’ Mike Allen wrote, “When you can get that many powerful people to come to you in Beijing, you're starting to look a lot like a superpower.”

Dave Lawler with Axios also notes that the BRI infrastructure effort is only one part of “China's plan to supplant the U.S. as the dominant global superpower within the next three decades.” In addition to the BRI, China’s aggressive tactics used in the race to 5G, the militarization of the South China Sea, the theft of intellectual property, and discriminatory business practices all work collectively to advance China’s economic, military, and political influence across the globe.

In my new book Trump vs China: America’s Greatest Challenge, which will be released in October, I describe China’s challenge to the rules-based world order and how, as a result, American interests and security are being put at risk.

Sun Tzu, one of the most famous (and possibly legendary) Chinese military thinkers stressed that you must know both yourself and your opponent in order to be successful in competitions. According to Sun Tzu, the attributed author of The Art of War, by having an understanding of both contenders, “you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
China is the most serious and formidable competitor that the United States now faces. It is essential to examine Chinese tactics and strategic thinking to better position the U.S. for this new era of competition. It will affect the future of our country for generations to come.

One of the most revealing comparisons to Chinese strategy is the game wei qi, which is said to have originated in China thousands of years ago. Wei qi – more commonly known by its Japanese name, “go,” in the West – is a game played with two players using a checkered board lined with 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines. One player has 180 white round stones and another has 181 black round stones. The players take turns placing their stones on the board one at a time on the intersections of the checker lines. The goal of the game is to capture the most territory either by encircling empty spaces or your opponent’s pieces on the board. The player with the most territory after all the pieces have been played, or after both players pass on their turns, wins.

Go is an incredibly complex game due to the number of possible moves and board configurations. As the game progresses, there are multiple invasions, engagements, fights, and confrontations between players that occur in all different areas of the board at the same time. Moreover, it is a lengthy game that requires players to capitalize on short-term victories – but to never lose sight of the long-term strategy.

In a paper analyzing Chinese strategic thinking, Dr. David Lai, now the research professor of Asian Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, argues that the Chinese approach to strategy is reflected in go. The American approach to strategic thinking, Lai argues, is reflected in chess.

American strategy relies on our technological superiority and capabilities. The U.S. focuses on force-on-force competition that seeks the result of total victory over the opponent. In chess, there are pieces that are more powerful than others that are deployed with the objective of capturing the opponent’s king. Every move is directed toward protecting your own king and seizing your opponent’s. In this way, chess is narrowly focused.

Chess players must also preserve their stronger pieces to keep the balance of power in their favor and ensure a better chance of victory. The player with the most powerful pieces in play during the game will likely win.

Henry Kissinger notes in his book, On China, “If chess is about the decisive battle, wei qi is about the protracted campaign.”
In go, every stone is equal. Players can unleash massive amounts of potential power by creatively and tactfully placing their stones. All stones that are placed on the board work in close connection with one another, as each individual is a part of a larger, bigger strategy.

Moreover, in go there are multiple campaigns, pursuits, battles, and maneuvers happening at the same time across the board. As the board is constantly changing in complex, subtle, and dynamic ways, players must always have a sharp awareness of the overall situation. Due to the number of possibilities where players can place their stones and the limited number of stones available, players must know when to fight for or defend territory. More importantly, they must know when to let it go.
In an evenly matched game, go is a competition of simultaneous incremental victories. Total, decisive, and complete defeat of an opponent is not typically an attainable objective. Usually, games are won by just a few points.
Dr. Lai notes that playing go with a chess approach is dangerous. Similarly, it will be dangerous for the U.S. to continue to approach the challenges we face with China without understanding and seeing the totality and breadth of their strategy.

China has already placed numerous stones on the board – such as artificially low Huawei 5G equipment prices, government loans to Belt and Road countries, building islands in the South China Sea, and forced technology transfers.
These stones work together in pursuit of various territorial acquisitions that will (in partnership with other stones) yield 5G dominance, control of the South China Sea, and economic superiority.

We must examine all of these campaigns – in addition to others – collectively. We must understand this go-based approach, rather than look at each endeavor as an independent challenge. Each of China’s campaigns work in concert with one another and will ultimately result in China’s emergence as a global hegemon. China’s current aggressive tactics will eventually undermine the United States, jeopardize our security, hurt our economy, compromise our values, and alter our way of life.

Those trying to understand the challenges that the United States now faces with China need to learn how to play go. The National Go Center has very helpful resources and events for players of all levels.

Moreover, the United States must develop an American-based strategy in this new era of competition that is focused on our strength, capabilities, ingenuity, and American spirit. Only then can we ensure that that the U.S. will emerge prosperous, successful, and stronger than ever.
Your Friend,
Newt

Crafty_Dog

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George Friedman: US-China Trade Talks and American Strategy
« Reply #909 on: May 14, 2019, 09:40:01 AM »

May 14, 2019



By George Friedman


US-China Trade Talks and American Strategy


The United States is shifting from military to economic warfare.


As the U.S. continues to negotiate a trade deal with China, a shift in American global strategy has emerged. The United States is reducing its use of direct military action and instead using economic pressure to drive countries like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran into conceding to U.S. demands. Even in places where the U.S. is still engaged militarily, such as Afghanistan, serious talks are underway for a withdrawal. It’s a shift that has been long in the making. In my book “The Next Decade,” published in 2011, six years before Donald Trump took office, I argued that the United States would reduce its military activity dramatically because it couldn’t maintain the tempo of engagement it had established over the years. I also discussed the topic in a 2018 article titled “The Trump Doctrine,” which argued that the United States would eventually be forced to scale back its foreign engagements. The use of economic power to shape behavior isn’t new; what is new is the focus on economic rather than military warfare.
An Inexperienced Power
The U.S. is a global power, engaged and exposed in many theaters. Having used its military presence in far-flung corners of the world as a symbol of its global reach and superiority, the U.S. spread itself thin and became unable to defeat even enemies whose forces and capabilities were far inferior. The classic example is Korea in 1950, where the United States had deployed an insufficient force, a result of the military drawdown. The North Koreans chose to strike, compelling the U.S. to fight for three years to a truce that left the North Korean regime intact and the boundaries roughly the same as before the war. The U.S. could not initiate war with the force it had. The North Koreans could and did.
Since World War II, the United States has been victorious in only one major conflict: Desert Storm. For 28 of the past 74 years, the U.S. has been at war in places like Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq but has failed to achieve victory in most cases. Neither Rome nor Britain used main force to wage wars. They relied instead on capable local powers with an interest in defeating the same enemy to do most of the fighting. They underwrote the conflicts and supplied some minimal force and material aid, but they tried always to limit their own exposure. The United States, a much younger and more inexperienced power, has consistently used its own force as the main combatant, and failed.


 

(click to enlarge)


There is a core geopolitical reason behind the U.S. failure in these wars. The United States has fought most of its conflicts in Europe and Asia, where force deployment is a substantial logistical effort. The challenges of intercontinental logistics limit the number of troops that can be sent. More important, the moment the United States sets foot in Eurasia, it is vastly outnumbered. The U.S. has tried to overcome this challenge through technology, but as we saw in Korea, technological superiority is enough to contain the enemy but not enough to defeat it. In Vietnam and the Middle East, the United States fought dispersed forces, native to the area and therefore with better intelligence on American forces than the Americans had on them.
The U.S. failures were also due in part to the fact that no one could define what a sufficient force was, and even if they could, it would likely be much larger than what the U.S. was willing to commit to the effort. The U.S., therefore, fought long wars based on the mistaken belief that the force it was willing to supply was enough to defeat the enemy. And while the United States is outstanding in conventional war, it’s not good at occupying a country that is unwilling to be occupied.
Charting a New Path
Inevitably, the time came when the United States recognized that continuing to do what it had been doing for years and expecting a different result was insane. And so, it has developed a new path, one which Trump has followed in his dealings with several countries thus far. The first step in this new strategy is to intimidate the adversary. When that doesn’t work, threaten to carry out military action without actually doing so. The final step is to resort to economic warfare by initiating or extending sanctions or a blockade. (In some cases, Trump has used some military force to enforce sanctions but, rather than going ashore, has used the Navy as the primary vehicle of military operations.)
It’s within this context that we should view the U.S.-China trade talks. Chinese trade practices seen by Washington as establishing an unfair advantage for Chinese producers is a reasonable topic for discussion and negotiation. But such negotiations are also a powerful alternative strategy for dealing with China’s potential emergence as a global power. For Beijing, the buildup in the South China Sea is an attempt to break out of the ring of islands surrounding the sea and, therefore, undermine a geographic advantage the U.S. would have if it chose to blockade China. The U.S. wants to retain this advantage. But even more important, it also wants to retain the Western Pacific – a region from which it fought to expel Japan during World War II – as a buffer against Asia. If China broke out of the South China Sea, it could become a Pacific threat. The U.S. could prevent this from happening by committing a major military force to the region. It could also initiate an attack on the Chinese navy. But it also has a third option that requires no military commitment at all: impede the reason for China’s policy in the South China Sea in the first place – securing safe passage for Chinese exports.


 

(click to enlarge)


China is heavily dependent on exports, which account for roughly one-fifth of its gross domestic product – possibly more given doubts over the accuracy of Chinese GDP figures. About 18 percent of Chinese exports are destined for the United States. In contrast, U.S. exports to China account for only about 0.5 percent of U.S. GDP. This is classic asymmetric warfare. China is far more dependent on its exports to the United States than the United States is on exports to China. Certainly, some Americans will be hurt by a trade war, but the U.S. as a whole is much less vulnerable than China is. The U.S. has therefore found a way to threaten vital Chinese interests without threatening war (though it also has some forces located near the South China Sea).
The U.S. has applied a similar approach to Iran, whose expansion throughout the Middle East is a concern for the U.S. and its allies. It’s questionable whether military action against Iran would succeed, so the U.S. has resorted to economic warfare here, too. It pulled out of the nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on Iranian energy exports that have hurt the Iranian economy. As for North Korea, the United States, in concert with the United Nations, introduced strict sanctions to try to limit Pyongyang’s nuclear program. It even seized a North Korean cargo ship last week that allegedly was used to violate sanctions. Similarly, the U.S. has accepted that it can do little militarily in eastern Ukraine or Crimea, but it has organized painful sanctions against Russia and made clear that additional sanctions are possible.
The U.S. is the world’s largest military power, but it is also the world’s largest economy and importer. For the most part, U.S. military engagements over the past 74 years have not ended well, but the use of economic warfare, which takes advantage of the fact that China and other countries are heavily dependent on the U.S. market, gives Washington an alternative to the military option.
It is not clear whether Trump will continue to use this approach, but thus far he has done so. As I have argued elsewhere, political leaders’ actions are shaped by geopolitical reality. The geopolitical reality of our time is that economic action has emerged as a major foreign policy tool of the United States.




Crafty_Dog

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George Friedman: The Problem of Occupation Warfare
« Reply #911 on: Today at 08:17:25 AM »

May 22, 2019



By George Friedman


Iran and the Problem of Occupation Warfare


For the U.S., defeating the Iranian military wouldn’t be the end of the war.


There has recently been a lot of talk about a war between the United States and Iran. In my view, it’s unlikely because the risks are too high for both countries. Iran can’t take the chance that its military would be destroyed, and the U.S. can’t accept the costs a real victory would entail. Since Korea, the United States has performed poorly in war, with the exception of Desert Storm, when the destruction of Iraqi forces allowed U.S. entry into Kuwait and no Kuwaiti resistance to American occupation emerged. But in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States faced the problem of what I would call occupation warfare, a type of combat that carries a substantial price even after the initial war has been won.

The Three Phases of War

Military theorist Carl von Clausewitz posited that there were three phases of war, each requiring different capabilities of warfare. The first phase is breaking the enemy’s military force, what we typically think of as military combat. The second is occupying the country, which involves the physical occupation of the defeated country and the establishment of the instruments of governance, production and consumption. The third is breaking the enemy’s ability to resist, which involves not only breaking its morale but also destroying any desire of the population to fight back against the occupiers.

The second phase is necessary because defeating an enemy military without occupying the country opens the door to the establishment of a new military force in the defeated country and a return to the strategic threat that sparked the war in the first place. After World War II, for example, the Allies had to occupy Germany and Japan or risk leaving in place the ability to resume the fighting and the political forces that posed the threat to begin with. In the final peace negotiations, therefore, the Americans insisted on occupation despite Japan’s resistance to it.

But the third phase of war didn’t emerge in either Japan or Germany for two reasons. First, and most important, the Allies had attacked not only the military but also the civilian population. Modern war involves hitting industrial targets, and factories are surrounded by people. Attacking the enemy’s industrial base means attacking its population, which dissolves any will to resist in the first place. The population, therefore, didn’t resist and the third phase never developed.

Second, even had there been a will to resist, the occupiers tried to rapidly identify weapons caches and destroy them. Leftover weapons could have been used to reignite the fighting, but eventually, new supplies would have to be obtained. Some might be stolen from the occupation force, but, with some exceptions, creating a force to resist the occupation requires an outside power willing to deliver materiel and a base from which to distribute it.

In Iraq, the United States defeated the Iraqi army within weeks and was able to quickly occupy the country. But the Iraqi army’s weapons had been cached in a number of places, and many Iraqi troops took weapons home. The United States had destroyed the Iraqi army and occupied the country but then faced the emergence of a force that had both the will and weapons to resist, obtained from both within and without the country. The United States failed at that third phase of war.

The Urge to Resist

In occupation warfare, the occupied have no hope of defeating or inflicting significant damage on the occupying military. But they can use their advantages to undermine the occupiers’ will to resist. The resisting force has several advantages, chief among them moral superiority. It is their country that’s being occupied, and the urge to resist is easy to generate. In addition, they have superior intelligence to the occupier and, therefore, a deeper sense of what’s happening. If the terrain permits, they can use it to cloak themselves. In urban environments, the city can make them invisible. Rooting the resistance out of a city is difficult and requires gathering intelligence from the civilian population, but their willingness to help is limited by their sympathy for the resistance, hatred of the occupier and fear of retribution. When the occupier carries out operations in populated areas, civilians are inevitably killed or wounded, increasing the population’s hostility and decreasing the opportunity for cooperation.

This is why occupation warfare is so difficult. It requires the occupier to craft a strategy appropriate for the occupied country, one based on knowledge of the country that the occupying force doesn’t have. The occupier, therefore, can’t obliterate the resisting force, but the resisting force can strike as and where it chooses, depending on its capability.

This means that the occupied win so long as they are not defeated, and the occupiers lose so long as the resistance continues. The resistance will try to create an unending war not because it expects to win but because it wants to break the will of its enemy to remain in the country. War must have a purpose and an end. The purpose for the resistance is clear. But over time, even the relatively low casualties being inflicted on the occupiers compel them to reconsider the political value of continuing to wage war. Clausewitz pointed out that war is the continuation of politics by other means, and that is nowhere truer than in occupation warfare. For years, the war can drag on with the assumption that withdrawal would undermine international credibility and that the occupier cannot allow itself to be defeated in this way. But in due course, the price of withdrawal becomes lower than the cost of maintaining the presence.

Occupation warfare, against a motivated and supplied resistance, is the most difficult type of warfare. It breaks an occupier not by main force but by steadily draining its resources. Some might say that the resistance cannot withstand overwhelming and brutal force. That may be true in some instances, but consider the German attempt to suppress Soviet partisan fighters and communists under Tito. The Germans had occupied the territory but couldn’t defeat the resistance despite extraordinary brutality. The partisans had the Pripet Marshes to hide in. Tito’s force had mountains. Both had a degree of outside supply. And both were highly motivated by the fact that surrender meant death. The very brutality of the occupier put steel into the resistance.

The Seduction of Victory

The United States can certainly destroy the Iranian military. It can also likely occupy Iran, but it would then be forced into occupation warfare. The Iranians would lose control of their country for an extended period of time. The costs would be too high for each side. The U.S. could of course bomb Iran, but only one country has ever capitulated after facing airstrikes alone: Yugoslavia in the Kosovo War. And even in this case, the capitulation had more to do with foreign diplomacy than the pain of war. Air power can cause tremendous damage but likely won’t force a country to back down. The end of war requires a political shift in an enemy, and air power usually can’t impose such a shift.


 

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The United States has had experience with occupation warfare in Afghanistan and, in some sense, in Vietnam. In each case, the ability of the enemy to impose extended occupation warfare on the United States compelled the U.S., in the long run, to accept an outcome that was previously unthinkable. In Iraq, the German and Japanese examples from World War II led to the assumption that the final phase would not involve resistance. But those examples, it turns out, didn’t apply to the Iraq War.

There will be mutual threats and possibly even airstrikes and counterstrikes. But the destruction of the Iranian military would lead to occupation and necessitate breaking the will to resist. The dangers of occupation warfare are well known, but the calm after the destruction of the enemy’s military is the most dangerous point in war. It seduces the victorious government into imagining that this time will be different. It rarely is.