Soob

Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Monday, March 02, 2009

Never, Ever Bank on the Now


A recent post at TDAXP regarding the potential scrapping of the F-22 initiated a spirited and interesting debate regarding not only the future of American air supremacy but also the global primacy or hegemony of America and how it is or isn't realized through the maintenance of a virtually untouchable "Big Bang" military. I thought the above 1920 NYTimes article fit quite well with Seerov's jam in the commentary. While Seerov's comment was spawned by the writings of George Friedman it's also reminiscent of Nassim Taleb's Black Swan. More on that soon.

I'm not so much critiquing Dan's take (which seems quite agreeable with the importance of American hegemony) as much as I am the potential shift toward asymmetric warfare as the standard for both American grand strategy and the construct of the American military.

No doubt counter insurgency is and should be the focus now, given the two current theaters of war. But I fear, given the current administrations looming defense budget cuts and how they center on programs that are offhandedly lumped together as Cold War anachronisms, the US might be railroading it's strategy and military in a dangerous, singular fashion. As the above early 20th century article, lesson's of early Iraq, the Seerov comment at tdaxp and Taleb's Black Swan suggest, do not build a course based strictly on the now nor on the rhymes of history.

10 comments:

Dan tdaxp said...

Interesting post -- and newspaper clipping!

It was the decision of France and Germany to weaken their own defenses to the point they could not stop German aggression.

In a way we can hedge against this -- better economic integration and nuclear weapons -- but the former can be used by newborne tyrants and the later is an uncertain weapon.

What we need, of course, is strength that we can actually use, both offensively and defensively. We saw with Russia's invasion of Georgia that are overwhelming land-sea-air and nuclear superiority was able to do little to prevent Russia from actually excersizing her power.

Better COIN capacity, both to stabilize Georgia and destabilize Russian interests, however, was sorely lacking.

Just because COIN proximately targets non-state actors does not mean it is not a tool of great power conflict.

josephfouche said...

Information Dissemination had a couple of interesting posts on the F-22 debate recently:

http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/2009/03/new-york-times-plays-same-old-song.html

http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/2009/02/guest-author-series-air-superiority-101.html

Anonymous said...

seerov completely dominated that thread.

PS Not that I believe it, but the Barnett-Chinese 'friendly' connection has been mentioned before, forget where, but I had read it before on some internet forum or blog where someone claimed that the PNM strategy was exactly the type of strategy that allowed 'unrestricted warfare' to work to its fullest. The guy who posted it outlined that the strengths of PNM are weaknesses to be exploited when viewed from the perspective of unrestricted warfare.

Meryl Yourish said...

Do you have a source for that New York Times clip? It feels like a fake to me.

Meryl Yourish said...

Never mind, I found it. It's legit.

Jay@Soob said...

Dan, agreed on COIN. But we shouldn't sacrifice our overall supremacy for the belief that COIN is the main ethos for the 21st century.

Jay@Soob said...

josephfouche
Thanks for the links.

Anon, if you come across a link to that forum or blog let me know, I'd like to read it.

Jay@Soob said...

Meryl Yourish,

Ye of little faith! ;)

Ymarsakar said...

The Shah of Iran made the same mistake by release Khomeini.

People never learn because they always believe a softer, gentler approach, will cure man's nature.

Ymarsakar said...

Do you have a source for that New York Times clip? It feels like a fake to me.

As Obama attested to, people have as yet to learn to distinguish fake from genuine.