The Patriot Files Forums  

Go Back   The Patriot Files Forums > Other Conflicts > Cold War

Post New Thread  Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-11-2017, 07:43 AM
Boats's Avatar
Boats Boats is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 7,532
Arrow What If America Assassinated Kim Jong-un?

What If America Assassinated Kim Jong-un?
By: Daniel R. DePetris - Old posting - 4-10-17 (now we know)
RE: http://nationalinterest.org/feature/...s-23582?page=3

This is not because armed force no longer matters in international affairs. It is because, as neorealist theory emphasizes, no one likes a world in which only one state has the power to, in Thomas Hobbes’s formulation, “over awe” all others. Thus, those opposing U.S. “management” of the existing order have had to innovate a strategy for thwarting a state with the world’s strongest military, greatest geopolitical reach and most robust economy. Given that every strength is at the same time a weakness in different circumstances, we should be unsurprised that U.S. adversaries have been reluctant to challenge the United States where it is strong. But on the contrary, adversaries have worked tirelessly to identify and exploit U.S. vulnerabilities; and to innovate new ways to coerce without provoking an armed response (e.g. Russian strategy in Ukraine, now referred to most often as “hybrid” or “grey zone” warfare).

This process began in the 1940s with Mao Tse-Tung’s efforts to innovate a strategy capable of defeating a major advanced industrial state with only a peasant army. His “revolutionary guerrilla warfare” strategy turned out to have very little to do with Communism, and everything to do with nationalism; and it eventually succeeded in defeating the U.S.-supported Kuomintang with no outside material support. The core features of the People’s Liberation Army doctrine would be adapted by the Viet Minh against first France, and later the United States in Indochina and Vietnam (respectively). In the years since, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China have all proven adept at innovating ways to thwart U.S. efforts without challenging the U.S. military and its alliance partners head on, as Iraq (1991, 2003) and the Taliban (2001) attempted to do in the early 2000s with predictable results: they lost decisively.

What has emerged in the 2010s is a world in which Steven Pinker’s (2011) argument that ‘the world is less violent now than at any time in history’ is both true, and at the same time less relevant: as China’s ongoing transfer of trillions of dollars of intellectual property value from the United States (much by cyber intrusion, and much by forcing U.S. corporations seeking to manufacture in China to choose between short-term profits and long-term corporate and U.S. interests); and Russia’s overwhelming success in interfering with Britain’s referendum on EU membership and the U.S. presidential election in 2016 highlight, states are capable of doing each other massive harm without crossing the traditional ‘act of war’ threshold; without killing.

What then should an ideal U.S. military intervention strategy look like in the 2020s? Just as our adversaries adapted their strategies and associated resources to counter U.S. strengths, the United States must innovate new strategies for advancing its national interests going forward. This can be done by increasing economic and diplomatic power and reserving military power for vital interests—rather than spreading our values. This will result in increased effectiveness even as it also means fewer and fewer military interventions. Ironically, the ideal U.S. counter to Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and North Korean strategies is to avoid the preventive use of armed force (thus repudiating the post 9-11 strategy of offense as defense) and to devote a greater share of resources to resilience: to effective education, infrastructure innovation, health care reform, food security and equitable economic growth. An ideal strategic response to cyber threats would be to reduce our vulnerability by increased public education and regulatory pressure on the private sector to guard against cyber intrusions.

Taken together, democratic states will find it increasingly difficult to both remain open and privilege the rule of law, and secure their citizens from all threats and harm. The 2020s will be a decade in which all hopes rest on building a resilient citizenry here in America, not on a now clearly doomed strategy relying on hyper-threat inflation and the overuse of the sword.

Going forward we are left with a number of important questions. First, we know that along with material considerations, culture, identity, and history affect states calculations of the risks and benefits of military intervention. After years of struggle and investment, China has at last succeeded in creating a military and economy capable of securing it against any outside attack, but its history of insecurity and a desire to redress past ‘humiliations’ drive its calculations just as surely as material considerations. To outsiders, the past five years have called into question whether China remains insecure, as it insists, or is actually bent on global hegemony, which would be more consistent with its accelerated military spending and its provocative deployments in the South China Sea. Similarly, a common reading of recent increased U.S. military spending, along with its accelerated deployment of armed forces abroad, is that the United States is an aggressive power, committed to maintaining the post–Cold War status quo. So assuming states weigh gains and losses of national identity along with material costs and benefits in determining whether to intervene militarily abroad, how does identity compare? For example, in considering direct military intervention in Vietnam after 1963, what was more important to the United States? The material loss of a tiny and very distant ally, or its own reputation as leader of the free world, and defender of the weak?

Second, given the dismal record of failure in military interventions since WWII and especially after 1991, what accounts for its persistence as a tool of U.S. statecraft? One strong possibility is that the costs of failure––given the extraordinary reach of American armed forces and the relative geopolitical isolation of the continental United States––have never risen to the level of an existential threat as compared to the possibility of success, however small. Another is that military interventions both signal ‘toughness’ and, as just observed, don’t appear to entail a serious risk to U.S. sovereignty and security. Thus, the benefits for political elites in Washington, of looking tough outweigh the costs and risks of failure, which can almost always be blamed on factors beyond their control, or on political opponents or third parties. Our elites don’t pay the costs.

Finally, given that under very limited circumstances, a U.S. military intervention might prove a necessary option, what can we learn from past failures and successes to maximize the chances that future U.S. military intervention will succeed, and do so at an acceptable cost?

Answers in the academic literature include an emphasis on more modest political objectives (say, simply stopping whatever horrible thing is ongoing and then leaving), multilateral efforts (acting in tandem with allies entails considerable joint operations costs, but these are almost always redeemed by the boost in legitimacy multilateral efforts bring), ensuring long-term public support (U.S. support for publicly known military interventions rarely lasts more than three years, yet most experts agree that interventions capable of ‘winning the peace’ tend to require at least seven to ten years to succeed), and increased reliance on other-than-military resources in support of interventions (armed force will almost always be needed to some degree, but if as a proportion of resources applied armed force is excessive as compared to say, aid, law enforcement and diplomatic efforts, interventions will fail).

U.S. Military Interventions in the 2020s

The United States does not view itself as an aggressor state, but with the brief exception of the Obama administration (2009–16), whose core energies were absorbed with holding the U.S. and global economy together along with mitigating the impact of two unwinnable wars, the United States has become both more interventionist and less likely to cleave to its core principles of opposing genocide (e.g. Rwanda, Darfur) and abiding by the rule of law (e.g. Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib). It has fought two fantastically costly wars, won neither, and then insisted that Iran not acquire the means to defend itself. Allies and adversaries alike may therefore be forgiven for reimagining the United States as an aggressor and a possible threat to the international order.

The U.S. military currently counts over 1.3 million personnel on active duty, with over 450,000 of these currently stationed overseas. The United States spends more on its military than the next eight states combined, and still twice as much as China and Russia combined. Many continue to identify the period following the collapse of the USSR in 1991 as a “unipolar moment,” in which the United States was the sole remaining superpower. And the U.S. military is invariably referred to as the world’s most powerful by far. The problem is, even in the absence of the increased military spending currently planned, this characterization remains as true as it is irrelevant.

This is not because armed force no longer matters in international affairs. It is because, as neorealist theory emphasizes, no one likes a world in which only one state has the power to, in Thomas Hobbes’s formulation, “over awe” all others. Thus, those opposing U.S. “management” of the existing order have had to innovate a strategy for thwarting a state with the world’s strongest military, greatest geopolitical reach and most robust economy. Given that every strength is at the same time a weakness in different circumstances, we should be unsurprised that U.S. adversaries have been reluctant to challenge the United States where it is strong. But on the contrary, adversaries have worked tirelessly to identify and exploit U.S. vulnerabilities; and to innovate new ways to coerce without provoking an armed response (e.g. Russian strategy in Ukraine, now referred to most often as “hybrid” or “grey zone” warfare).

This process began in the 1940s with Mao Tse-Tung’s efforts to innovate a strategy capable of defeating a major advanced industrial state with only a peasant army. His “revolutionary guerrilla warfare” strategy turned out to have very little to do with Communism, and everything to do with nationalism; and it eventually succeeded in defeating the U.S.-supported Kuomintang with no outside material support. The core features of the People’s Liberation Army doctrine would be adapted by the Viet Minh against first France, and later the United States in Indochina and Vietnam (respectively). In the years since, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China have all proven adept at innovating ways to thwart U.S. efforts without challenging the U.S. military and its alliance partners head on, as Iraq (1991, 2003) and the Taliban (2001) attempted to do in the early 2000s with predictable results: they lost decisively.

What has emerged in the 2010s is a world in which Steven Pinker’s (2011) argument that ‘the world is less violent now than at any time in history’ is both true, and at the same time less relevant: as China’s ongoing transfer of trillions of dollars of intellectual property value from the United States (much by cyber intrusion, and much by forcing U.S. corporations seeking to manufacture in China to choose between short-term profits and long-term corporate and U.S. interests); and Russia’s overwhelming success in interfering with Britain’s referendum on EU membership and the U.S. presidential election in 2016 highlight, states are capable of doing each other massive harm without crossing the traditional ‘act of war’ threshold; without killing.

What then should an ideal U.S. military intervention strategy look like in the 2020s? Just as our adversaries adapted their strategies and associated resources to counter U.S. strengths, the United States must innovate new strategies for advancing its national interests going forward. This can be done by increasing economic and diplomatic power and reserving military power for vital interests—rather than spreading our values. This will result in increased effectiveness even as it also means fewer and fewer military interventions. Ironically, the ideal U.S. counter to Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and North Korean strategies is to avoid the preventive use of armed force (thus repudiating the post 9-11 strategy of offense as defense) and to devote a greater share of resources to resilience: to effective education, infrastructure innovation, health care reform, food security and equitable economic growth. An ideal strategic response to cyber threats would be to reduce our vulnerability by increased public education and regulatory pressure on the private sector to guard against cyber intrusions.

Taken together, democratic states will find it increasingly difficult to both remain open and privilege the rule of law, and secure their citizens from all threats and harm. The 2020s will be a decade in which all hopes rest on building a resilient citizenry here in America, not on a now clearly doomed strategy relying on hyper-threat inflation and the overuse of the sword.

Monica Duffy Toft is Professor of International Politics and Director, Center for Strategic Studies at the Fletcher School of Government, Tufts University

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
__________________
Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
sendpm.gif Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Reply

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 Off
HTML code is On

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:53 AM.


Powered by vBulletin, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.