Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Rights And Duties Of Power: Part Three

Part 3, Military Supremacy and Social Evolution

When I was growing up, a student was expected to learn American and World History as part of his basic public education. This meant learning about wars through History, and understanding the need for a professional army. I note that todayÂ’s students are often not so obliged, and consequently many young men and women come of age without some essential tools to understand the world and its teeth. Within our own lifetimes, we have seen wars between nations pursued for reasons of Empire, Genocide, Political Crusade, Religion, Race, and pure simple hatred of the neighboring country. We have seen that the most dangerous enemies can reach anyone, anywhere, unless they are deterred, or better destroyed. The military of the United States is not one of Empire or Despotism, but rather the wall between civilization and utter chaos.

George W. Bush understands this, in part because he listens to the men who lead his Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, Intelligence, and support forces. ItÂ’s also because the first President to earn an MBA took the time to learn the foundational strengths and needs of American government. Just as a CEO needs to understand the most critical needs for his business in order to make good strategic decisions, so much more does the President of the United States need to understand the absolute requirements of American government and military force. In addition, Bush understands the same momentum that controls politics is even more pronounced in military matters; while an offensive is not a good idea of itself, it is generally better to attack than wait to be attacked, to pursue an objective instead of waiting to lose something important. Having served in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, Bush naturally has thought about the most painful U.S. loss in current memory, especially why and how it happened and what could have been done to prevent it. Besides the cost in American life and objectives, anyone familiar with the war is angry at the needless loss of so many innocent lives, and a whole region of the world lost to fighting and control by Communism for a generation or more.

But Bush is also familiar with the Reagan Doctrine, which not only fought Communism around the globe (and won), but also used force judiciously and to great effect. It was in that mind that President Bush turned his attention to the Middle East.

It should be understand before going into that region's events, that the world as a whole focuses on certain conflicts while ignoring others. This is not just but is common to the human experience. Also, while the United States is powerful enough to strike anywhere with great effect, it cannot strike everywhere, nor with the same effect or cost in every place and time. So, choices must be made as to how to prepare, train, supply, support, and deploy the forces. And at the risk of sounding Imperial, the only proper way for the United States to do this is to plan globally.

The prime responsibility of a military is to protect the homeland. This means from invasion, and from unconventional attack. Good relations with Canada and Mexico protect the geography, while the new DHS addresses the lower-intensity threat.

South America remains a mixed bag, with generally pro-American countries keeping the anti-American ones at bay. Same for continental Africa, which is trying to grow out of the Cold War polarization and pre-War colonization, both of which stunted its social, political, and economic growths. As for Europe, with a few exceptions the continent represents a collection of nations jealous of America's strength and success, but generally stable and unlikely to either attack the U.S. or join in U.S. military initiatives. As for Asia, the continent has basically three parts-

Mainland China, which dominates in economics, politics, and military matters, though it is not able to pursue extended military operations;

The India/Pakistan region, which represents the fastest growing military sector, and which is also nuclear-armed; and

The Asian coast and Pacific nations, which have formed networks of alliances and trade associations to create collective strengths. The United States is closely aligned with most of these groups, including some nations which do not officially have close relations with America.

Asia would be worth a long article all its own, but for here it serves to note that military conquest in the region is largely too expensive for the opportunity, and so diplomatic, economic, and political measures are used in proxy.

This whole summary, of course, is far too simplistic, but for the purposes of this article and the point I am making, it boils down to 2 critical facts.

The first fact is that the United States has gained a military superiority far beyond historical measures. We can literally put a weapon anywhere in the world, and can land forces of armed men into any conceivable conflict. Not only are their tools technologically superior to anything a potential enemy can field, the training and doctrine of U.S. military men are significantly superior to any conceivable opponent. This is not to claim that we should always expect to win, much less win without high cost, but it does mean that virtually any objective is feasible for the United States. Consequently, any nation which intends to fight against the United States must plan asymmetrical warfare as its doctrine; anything else amounts to suicide. This, unfortunately, explains the present emphasis on proxy terrorist actions. It affords America's enemies a measure of deniability, along with a chance to probe for weakness or lack of resolve, the latter being the historical Achilles heel of the United States.

The second fact is that the Middle East has regained importance on the planes of economic, strategic, and social conflicts. OPEC has failed to regain its former influence, but nations producing Oil hope to wield it once again as a weapon to force policy changes ttheirur liking. The stability of the Middle East directly impacts the policies in Europe and Asia for their future development, and since the United States is the chief ally of Israel, the events in the Middle East cannot help but affect U.S. policy. As I mentioned before, the virtue of initiative is that it forces your opponent to respond to your actions, allowing you to choose course and direction. The present situation in the Middle East is a match between two opposing initiatives - the move to impose coercive Jihadism on the region foconcentrateded application against the "infidel" West, versus the birth of free representative republics in the Middle East, with individual rights and accountable governments. Both cannot be maintained, and so all the players watch with intense focus on Iraq and Afghanistan. If the terrorists win there, it will be because the U.S. abandons the nations as it did Vietnam in 1975. But if the nations become self-supporting, then the movement will continue to feed people in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, all across the Middle East and against the forces which breed terrorists. One will die, and the other spread across perhaps a quarter of the world within a generation. The stakes are clear.

It is a trite assumption that democracies do not war upon each other, but it should be obvious that nations which work for the common support and success of all of its citizens will be more likely to find resolutions that do not require bloodshed. This is the hope and mission of the United States, and to some measure explains the popularity of the soldier in mainstream America - such mean represent the ideals of the nation, and a better hope for the world than could exist without their help.

Defend the nation, and destroy terrorists. A simple mission, but a difficult one. But also a worthy cause, which inspires nations and which characterizes the greatest nation on earth. Some may doubt, but I am one who has no doubt that the living God has placed the USA as a guardian against the forces of tyranny and malicious fervor. And it is the right and duty of the United States of America to stand where needed, alone if necessary, as the last best hope of the world.

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