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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #50 on: November 08, 2010, 19:45:15 »
Here, reproduced in three parts under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act fro,m Foreign Affairs is an interesting caution from Joseph Nye (who always merits a our attention) for those, including me, who are too quick to speculate about America's relative decline:

PART 1

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66796/joseph-s-nye-jr/the-future-of-american-power?page=show
Quote
The Future of American Power
Dominance and Decline in Perspective

By Joseph S. Nye Jr.
November/December 2010

The twenty-first century began with a very unequal distribution of power resources. With five percent of the world's population, the United States accounted for about a quarter of the world's economic output, was responsible for nearly half of global military expenditures, and had the most extensive cultural and educational soft-power resources. All this is still true, but the future of U.S. power is hotly debated. Many observers have interpreted the 2008 global financial crisis as the beginning of American decline. The National Intelligence Council, for example, has projected that in 2025, "the U.S. will remain the preeminent power, but that American dominance will be much diminished."

Power is the ability to attain the outcomes one wants, and the resources that produce it vary in different contexts. Spain in the sixteenth century took advantage of its control of colonies and gold bullion, the Netherlands in the seventeenth century profited from trade and finance, France in the eighteenth century benefited from its large population and armies, and the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century derived power from its primacy in the Industrial Revolution and its navy. This century is marked by a burgeoning revolution in information technology and globalization, and to understand this revolution, certain pitfalls need to be avoided.

First, one must beware of misleading metaphors of organic decline. Nations are not like humans, with predictable life spans. Rome remained dominant for more than three centuries after the peak of its power, and even then it did not succumb to the rise of another state. For all the fashionable predictions of China, India, or Brazil surpassing the United States in the next decades, the greater threat may come from modern barbarians and nonstate actors. In an information-based world, power diffusion may pose a bigger danger than power transition. Conventional wisdom holds that the state with the largest army prevails, but in the information age, the state (or the nonstate actor) with the best story may sometimes win.

Power today is distributed in a pattern that resembles a complex three-dimensional chess game. On the top chessboard, military power is largely unipolar, and the United States is likely to retain primacy for quite some time. On the middle chessboard, economic power has been multipolar for more than a decade, with the United States, Europe, Japan, and China as the major players and others gaining in importance. The bottom chessboard is the realm of transnational relations. It includes nonstate actors as diverse as bankers who electronically transfer funds, terrorists who traffic weapons, hackers who threaten cybersecurity, and challenges such as pandemics and climate change. On this bottom board, power is widely diffused, and it makes no sense to speak of unipolarity, multipolarity, or hegemony.

In interstate politics, the most important factor will be the continuing return of Asia to the world stage. In 1750, Asia had more than half the world's population and economic output. By 1900, after the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States, Asia's share shrank to one-fifth of global economic output. By 2050, Asia will be well on its way back to its historical share. The rise of China and India may create instability, but this is a problem with precedents, and history suggests how policies can affect the outcome.

HEGEMONIC DECLINE?

It is currently fashionable to compare the United States' power to that of the United Kingdom a century ago and to predict a similar hegemonic decline. Some Americans react emotionally to the idea of decline, but it would be counterintuitive and ahistorical to believe that the United States will have a preponderant share of power resources forever. The word "decline" mixes up two different dimensions: absolute decline, in the sense of decay, and relative decline, in which the power resources of other states grow or are used more effectively.

The analogy with British decline is misleading. The United Kingdom had naval supremacy and an empire on which the sun never set, but by World War I, the country ranked only fourth among the great powers in its share of military personnel, fourth in GDP, and third in military spending. With the rise of nationalism, protecting the empire became more of a burden than an asset. For all the talk of an American empire, the United States has more freedom of action than the United Kingdom did. And whereas the United Kingdom faced rising neighbors, Germany and Russia, the United States benefits from being surrounded by two oceans and weaker neighbors.

Despite such differences, Americans are prone to cycles of belief in their own decline. The Founding Fathers worried about comparisons to the Roman republic. Charles Dickens observed a century and a half ago, "If its individual citizens, to a man, are to be believed, [the United States] always is depressed, and always is stagnated, and always is at an alarming crisis, and never was otherwise." In the last half century, belief in American decline rose after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957, after President Richard Nixon's economic adjustments and the oil shocks in the 1970s, and after the closing of rust-belt industries and the budget deficits in the Reagan era. Ten years later, Americans believed that the United States was the sole superpower, and now polls show that many believe in decline again.

Pundits lament the inability of Washington to control states such as Afghanistan or Iran, but they allow the golden glow of the past to color their appraisals. The United States' power is not what it used to be, but it also never really was as great as assumed. After World War II, the United States had nuclear weapons and an overwhelming preponderance of economic power but nonetheless was unable to prevent the "loss" of China, to roll back communism in Eastern Europe, to overcome stalemate in the Korean War, to stop the "loss" of North Vietnam, or to dislodge the Castro regime in Cuba. Power measured in resources rarely equals power measured in preferred outcomes, and cycles of belief in decline reveal more about psychology than they do about real shifts in power resources. Unfortunately, mistaken beliefs in decline -- at home and abroad -- can lead to dangerous mistakes in policy.

CHINA ON THE RISE

For more than a decade, many have viewed China as the most likely contender to balance U.S. power or surpass it. Some draw analogies to the challenge that imperial Germany posed to the United Kingdom at the beginning of the last century. A recent book (by Martin Jacques) is even titled When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. Goldman Sachs has projected that the total size of China's economy will surpass that of the United States in 2027.

Yet China has a long way to go to equal the power resources of the United States, and it still faces many obstacles to its development. Even if overall Chinese GDP passed that of the United States around 2030, the two economies, although roughly equivalent in size, would not be equivalent in composition. China would still have a vast underdeveloped countryside, and it would have begun to face demographic problems from the delayed effects of its one-child policy. Per capita income provides a measure of the sophistication of an economy. Assuming a six percent Chinese GDP growth rate and only two percent American GDP growth rate after 2030, China would probably not equal the United States in per capita income until sometime around the middle of the century. In other words, China's impressive economic growth rate and increasing population will likely lead the Chinese economy to pass the U.S. economy in total size in a few decades, but that is not the same as equality.

Moreover, linear projections can be misleading, and growth rates generally slow as economies reach higher levels of development. China's authoritarian political system has shown an impressive capability to harness the country's power, but whether the government can maintain that capability over the longer term is a mystery both to outsiders and to Chinese leaders. Unlike India, which was born with a democratic constitution, China has not yet found a way to solve the problem of demands for political participation (if not democracy) that tend to accompany rising per capita income. Whether China can develop a formula that manages an expanding urban middle class, regional inequality, rural poverty, and resentment among ethnic minorities remains to be seen.

Some have argued that China aims to challenge the United States' position in East Asia and, eventually, the world. Even if this were an accurate assessment of China's current intentions (and even the Chinese themselves cannot know the views of future generations), it is doubtful that China will have the military capability to make this possible anytime soon. Moreover, Chinese leaders will have to contend with the reactions of other countries and the constraints created by China's need for external markets and resources. Too aggressive a Chinese military posture could produce a countervailing coalition among China's neighbors that would weaken both its hard and its soft power.

The rise of Chinese power in Asia is contested by both India and Japan (as well as other states), and that provides a major power advantage to the United States. The U.S.-Japanese alliance and the improvement in U.S.-Indian relations mean that China cannot easily expel the Americans from Asia. From that position of strength, the United States, Japan, India, Australia, and others can engage China and provide incentives for it to play a responsible role, while hedging against the possibility of aggressive behavior as China's power grows.

End of Part 1


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« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 19:49:57 by E.R. Campbell »
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #51 on: November 08, 2010, 19:47:11 »
Part 2

Quote
DOMESTIC DECAY?

Some argue that the United States suffers from "imperial overstretch," but so far, the facts do not fit that theory. On the contrary, defense and foreign affairs expenditures have declined as a share of GDP over the past several decades. Nonetheless, the United States could decline not because of imperial overstretch but because of domestic underreach. Rome rotted from within, and some observers, noting the sourness of current U.S. politics, project that the United States will lose its ability to influence world events because of domestic battles over culture, the collapse of its political institutions, and economic stagnation. This possibility cannot be ruled out, but the trends are not as clear as the current gloomy mood suggests.

Although the United States has many social problems -- and always has -- they do not seem to be getting worse in any linear manner. Some of these problems are even improving, such as rates of crime, divorce, and teenage pregnancy. Although there are culture wars over issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, polls show an overall increase in tolerance. Civil society is robust, and church attendance is high, at 42 percent. The country's past cultural battles, over immigration, slavery, evolution, temperance, McCarthyism, and civil rights, were arguably more serious than any of today's.

A graver concern would be if the country turned inward and seriously curtailed immigration. With its current levels of immigration, the United States is one of the few developed countries that may avoid demographic decline and keep its share of world population, but this could change if xenophobia or reactions to terrorism closed its borders. The percentage of foreign-born residents in the United States reached its twentieth-century peak, 14.7 percent, in 1910. Today, 11.7 percent of U.S. residents are foreign born, but in 2009, 50 percent of Americans favored decreasing immigration, up from 39 percent in 2008. The economic recession has only aggravated the problem.

Although too rapid a rate of immigration can cause social problems, over the long term, immigration strengthens U.S. power. Today, the United States is the world's third most populous country; 50 years from now, it is likely to still be third (after India and China). Not only is this relevant to economic power, but given that nearly all developed countries are aging and face the burden of providing for the older generation, immigration could help reduce the sharpness of the resulting policy problem. In addition, there is a strong correlation between the number of H-1B visas and the number of patents filed in the United States. In 1998, Chinese- and Indian-born engineers were running one-quarter of Silicon Valley's high-tech businesses, and in 2005, immigrants were found to have helped start one of every four American technology start-ups over the previous decade.

Equally important are the benefits of immigration for the United States' soft power. Attracted by the upward mobility of American immigrants, people want to come to the United States. The United States is a magnet, and many people can envisage themselves as Americans. Many successful Americans look like people in other countries. Rather than diluting hard and soft power, immigration enhances both. When Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew concludes that China will not surpass the United States as the leading power of the twenty-first century, he cites the ability of the United States to attract the best and brightest from the rest of the world and meld them into a diverse culture of creativity. China has a larger population to recruit from domestically, but in his view, its Sinocentric culture will make it less creative than the United States, which can draw on the whole world.

On the other hand, a failure in the performance of the U.S. economy would be a showstopper. Keeping in mind that macroeconomic forecasts (like weather forecasts) are notoriously unreliable, it appears that the United States will experience slower growth in the decade after the 2008 financial crisis. The International Monetary Fund expects U.S. economic growth to average about two percent in 2014. This is lower than the average over the past several decades but roughly the same as the average rate over the past ten years.

In the 1980s, many observers believed that the U.S. economy had run out of steam and that Germany and Japan were overtaking the United States. The country seemed to have lost its competitive edge. Today, however, even after the financial crisis and the ensuing recession, the World Economic Forum has ranked the United States fourth (after Switzerland, Sweden, and Singapore) in global economic competitiveness. (China, in comparison, was ranked 27th.) The U.S. economy leads in many new growth sectors, such as information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. And even though optimists tend to cite the United States' dominance in the production and use of information technology, that is not the only source of U.S. productivity. The United States has seen significant agricultural innovation, too, and its openness to globalization, if it continues, will also drive up productivity. Economic experts project that American productivity growth will be between 1.5 and 2.25 percent in the next decade.

In terms of investment in research and development, the United States was the world leader in 2007, with $369 billion, followed by all of Asia ($338 billon) and the European Union ($263 billion). The United States spent 2.7 percent of its GDP on research and development, nearly double what China spent (but slightly less than the three percent spent by Japan and South Korea). In 2007, American inventors registered about 80,000 patents in the United States, or more than the rest of the world combined. A number of reports have expressed concern about problems such as high corporate tax rates, the flight of human capital, and the growing number of overseas patents, but U.S. venture capital firms invest 70 percent of their money in domestic start-ups. A 2009 survey by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor ranked the United States ahead of other countries in opportunities for entrepreneurship because it has a favorable business culture, the most mature venture capital industry, close relations between universities and industry, and an open immigration policy.

Other concerns about the future of the U.S. economy focus on the current account deficit (whose current level indicates that Americans are becoming more indebted to foreigners) and the rise in government debt. In the words of the historian Niall Ferguson, "This is how empires decline. It begins with a debt explosion." Not only did the recent bank bailout and Keynesian stimulus package add to U.S. debt, but the rising costs of health care and entitlement programs such as Social Security, along with the rising cost of servicing the debt, will claim large shares of future revenue. Other observers are less alarmist. The United States, they claim, is not like Greece.

The Congressional Budget Office calculates that total government debt will reach 100 percent of GDP by 2023, and many economists begin to worry when debt levels in rich countries exceed 90 percent. But as The Economist pointed out last June, "America has two huge advantages over other countries that have allowed it to face its debt with relative equanimity: possessing both the world's reserve currency and its most liquid asset market, in Treasury bonds." And contrary to fears of a collapse of confidence in the dollar, during the financial crisis, the dollar rose and bond yields fell. A sudden crisis of confidence is less the problem than that a gradual increase in the cost of servicing the debt could affect the long-term health of the economy.

It is in this sense that the debt problem is important, and studies suggest that interest rates rise 0.03 percent for every one percent increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio over the long term. Higher interest rates mean lower private-sector investment and slower growth. These effects can be mitigated by good policies or exacerbated by bad ones. Increasing debt need not lead to the United States' decline, but it certainly raises the long-term risk.

A well-educated labor force is another key to economic success in the information age. At first glance, the United States does well in this regard. It spends twice as much on higher education as a percentage of GDP as do France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The London-based Times Higher Education's 2009 list of the top ten universities includes six in the United States, and a 2010 study by Shanghai Jiao Tong University places 17 U.S. universities -- and no Chinese universities -- among its top 20. Americans win more Nobel Prizes and publish more scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals -- three times as many as the Chinese -- than do the citizens of any other country. These accomplishments enhance both the country's economic power and its soft power.

American education at its best -- many universities and the top slice of the secondary education system -- meets or sets the global standard. But American education at its worst -- too many primary and secondary schools, especially in less affluent districts -- lags badly behind. This means that the quality of the labor force will not keep up with the rising standards needed in an information-driven economy. There is no convincing evidence that students are performing worse than in the past, but the United States' educational advantage is eroding because other countries are doing better than ever. Improvement in the country's K-12 education system will be necessary if the country is to meet the standards needed in an information-based economy.

End of Part 2


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It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #52 on: November 08, 2010, 19:48:21 »
Part 3

Quote
POLITICS AND INSTITUTIONS

Despite these problems and uncertainties, it seems probable that with the right policies, the U.S. economy can continue to produce hard power for the country. But what about U.S. institutions? The journalist James Fallows, who spent years in China, came home worried less about the United States' economic performance than the gridlock in its political system. In his view, "America still has the means to address nearly any of its structural weaknesses. . . . That is the American tragedy of the early 21st century: a vital and self-renewing culture that attracts the world's talent and a governing system that increasingly looks like a joke." Although political gridlock in a period of recession looks bad, it is difficult to ascertain whether the situation today is much worse than in the past.

Power conversion -- translating power resources into desired outcomes -- is a long-standing problem for the United States. The U.S. Constitution is based on the eighteenth-century liberal view that power is best controlled by fragmentation and countervailing checks and balances. In foreign policy, the Constitution has always invited the president and Congress to compete for control. Strong economic and ethnic pressure groups struggle for their self-interested definitions of the national interest, and Congress is designed to pay attention to squeaky wheels.

Another cause for concern is the decline of public confidence in government institutions. In 2010, a poll by the Pew Research Center found that 61 percent of respondents thought the United States was in decline, and only 19 percent trusted the government to do what is right most of the time. In 1964, by contrast, three-quarters of the American public said they trusted the federal government to do the right thing most of the time. The numbers have varied somewhat over time, rising after 9/11 before gradually declining again.

The United States was founded in part on a mistrust of government, and its constitution was designed to resist centralized power. Moreover, when asked not about day-to-day government but about the underlying constitutional framework, Americans are very positive. If asked where the best place to live is, the overwhelming majority of them say the United States. If asked whether they like their democratic system of government, nearly everyone says yes. Few people feel the system is rotten and must be overthrown.

Some aspects of the current mood probably represent discontent with the bickering and deadlock in the political process. Compared with the recent past, party politics has become more polarized, but nasty politics is nothing new -- as John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson could attest. Part of the problem with assessing the current atmosphere is that trust in government became abnormally high among the generation that survived the Depression and won World War II. Over the long view of U.S. history, that generation may be the anomaly. Much of the evidence for a loss of trust in government comes from modern polling data, and responses are sensitive to the way questions are asked. The sharpest decline occurred more than four decades ago, during the Johnson and Nixon administrations.

This does not mean that there are no problems with declining confidence in government. If the public became unwilling to pay taxes or comply with laws, or if bright young people refused to go into public service, the government's capacity would be impaired, and people would become more dissatisfied with the government. Moreover, a climate of distrust can trigger extreme actions by deviant members of the population, such as the 1995 bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City. Such results could diminish the United States' hard and soft power.

As yet, however, these fears do not seem to have materialized. The Internal Revenue Service has seen no increase in tax cheating. By many accounts, government officials have become less corrupt than in earlier decades, and the World Bank gives the United States a high score (above the 90th percentile) on "control of corruption." The voluntary return of census forms increased to 67 percent in 2000 and was slightly higher in 2010, reversing a 30-year decline. Voting rates fell from 62 percent to 50 percent over the four decades after 1960, but the decline stopped in 2000 and returned to 58 percent in 2008. In other words, the public's behavior has not changed as dramatically as its responses to poll questions indicates.

How serious are changes in social capital when it comes to the effectiveness of American institutions? The political scientist Robert Putnam notes that community bonds have not weakened steadily over the last century. On the contrary, U.S. history, carefully examined, is a story of ups and downs in civic engagement. Three-quarters of Americans, according to the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, feel connected to their communities and say that the quality of life there is excellent or good. Another of the group's polls found that 111 million Americans had volunteered their time to help solve problems in their communities in the past 12 months and that 60 million volunteer on a regular basis. Forty percent said working together with others in their community was the most important thing they could do.

In recent years, U.S. politics and political institutions have become more polarized than the actual distribution of public opinion would suggest. The situation has been exacerbated by the recent economic downturn. As The Economist noted, "America's political system was designed to make legislation at the federal level difficult, not easy. . . . So the basic system works; but that is no excuse for ignoring areas where it could be reformed." Some important reforms -- such as changing the gerrymandered safe seats in the House of Representatives or altering Senate rules about filibusters -- would not require any constitutional amendment. Whether the U.S. political system can reform itself and cope with the problems described above remains to be seen, but it is not as broken as implied by critics who draw analogies to the domestic decay of Rome or other empires.

DEBATING DECLINE

Any net assessment of American power in the coming decades will remain uncertain, but analysis is not helped by misleading metaphors of decline. Declinists should be chastened by remembering how wildly exaggerated U.S. estimates of Soviet power in the 1970s and of Japanese power in the 1980s were. Equally misguided were those prophets of unipolarity who argued a decade ago that the United States was so powerful that it could do as it wished and others had no choice but to follow. Today, some confidently predict that the twenty-first century will see China replace the United States as the world's leading state, whereas others argue with equal confidence that the twenty-first century will be the American century. But unforeseen events often confound such projections. There is always a range of possible futures, not one.

As for the United States' power relative to China's, much will depend on the uncertainties of future political change in China. Barring any political upheaval, China's size and high rate of economic growth will almost certainly increase its relative strength vis-à-vis the United States. This will bring China closer to the United States in power resources, but it does not necessarily mean that China will surpass the United States as the most powerful country -- even if China suffers no major domestic political setbacks. Projections based on GDP growth alone are one-dimensional. They ignore U.S. advantages in military and soft power, as well as China's geopolitical disadvantages in the Asian balance of power.

Among the range of possible futures, the more likely are those in which China gives the United States a run for its money but does not surpass it in overall power in the first half of this century. Looking back at history, the British strategist Lawrence Freedman has noted that the United States has "two features which distinguish it from the dominant great powers of the past: American power is based on alliances rather than colonies and is associated with an ideology that is flexible. . . . Together they provide a core of relationships and values to which America can return even after it has overextended itself." And looking to the future, the scholar Anne-Marie Slaughter has argued that the United States' culture of openness and innovation will keep it central in a world where networks supplement, if not fully replace, hierarchical power.

The United States is well placed to benefit from such networks and alliances, if it follows smart strategies. Given Japanese concerns about the rise of Chinese power, Japan is more likely to seek U.S. support to preserve its independence than ally with China. This enhances the United States' position. Unless Americans act foolishly with regard to Japan, an allied East Asia is not a plausible candidate to displace the United States. It matters that the two entities in the world with per capita incomes and sophisticated economies similar to those of the United States -- the European Union and Japan -- both are U.S. allies. In traditional realist terms of balances of power resources, that makes a large difference for the net position of U.S. power. And in a more positive-sum view of power -- that of holding power with, rather than over, other countries -- Europe and Japan provide the largest pools of resources for dealing with common transnational problems. Although their interests are not identical to those of the United States, they share overlapping social and governmental networks with it that provide opportunities for cooperation.

On the question of absolute, rather than relative, American decline, the United States faces serious problems in areas such as debt, secondary education, and political gridlock. But they are only part of the picture. Of the multiple possible futures, stronger cases can be made for the positive ones than the negative ones. But among the negative futures, the most plausible is one in which the United States overreacts to terrorist attacks by turning inward and thus cuts itself off from the strength it obtains from openness. Barring such mistaken strategies, however, there are solutions to the major American problems of today. (Long-term debt, for example, could be solved by putting in place, after the economy recovers, spending cuts and consumption taxes that could pay for entitlements.) Of course, such solutions may forever remain out of reach. But it is important to distinguish hopeless situations for which there are no solutions from those that could in principle be solved. After all, the bipartisan reforms of the Progressive era a century ago rejuvenated a badly troubled country.

A NEW NARRATIVE

It is time for a new narrative about the future of U.S. power. Describing power transition in the twenty-first century as a traditional case of hegemonic decline is inaccurate, and it can lead to dangerous policy implications if it encourages China to engage in adventurous policies or the United States to overreact out of fear. The United States is not in absolute decline, and in relative terms, there is a reasonable probability that it will remain more powerful than any single state in the coming decades.

At the same time, the country will certainly face a rise in the power resources of many others -- both states and nonstate actors. Because globalization will spread technological capabilities and information technology will allow more people to communicate, U.S. culture and the U.S. economy will become less globally dominant than they were at the start of this century. Yet it is unlikely that the United States will decay like ancient Rome, or even that it will be surpassed by another state, including China.

The problem of American power in the twenty-first century, then, is not one of decline but what to do in light of the realization that even the largest country cannot achieve the outcomes it wants without the help of others. An increasing number of challenges will require the United States to exercise power with others as much as power over others. This, in turn, will require a deeper understanding of power, how it is changing, and how to construct "smart power" strategies that combine hard- and soft-power resources in an information age. The country's capacity to maintain alliances and create networks will be an important dimension of its hard and soft power.

Power is not good or bad per se. It is like calories in a diet: more is not always better. If a country has too few power resources, it is less likely to obtain its preferred outcomes. But too much power (in terms of resources) has often proved to be a curse when it leads to overconfidence and inappropriate strategies. David slew Goliath because Goliath's superior power resources led him to pursue an inferior strategy, which in turn led to his defeat and death. A smart-power narrative for the twenty-first century is not about maximizing power or preserving hegemony. It is about finding ways to combine resources in successful strategies in the new context of power diffusion and "the rise of the rest."

As the largest power, the United States will remain important in global affairs, but the twentieth-century narrative about an American century and American primacy -- as well as narratives of American decline -- is misleading when it is used as a guide to the type of strategy that will be necessary in the twenty-first century. The coming decades are not likely to see a post-American world, but the United States will need a smart strategy that combines hard- and soft-power resources -- and that emphasizes alliances and networks that are responsive to the new context of a global information age.


In my own defence, whenever I forecast the end of this unipolar world based on American hyperpuissance I always (at least usually) caution readers to “not count America out.”

The biggest strategic danger facing America is, as Nye says, economic. America can and might spend itself ito real strategic trouble where it, like China, will have to put domestic tranquillity (social harmony) ahead of all other interests, and that may mean borrowing recklessly without enough attention to the payback.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #53 on: January 23, 2011, 15:40:22 »
A new book which claims the true reason for American decline is they "ate the low hanging fruit". While the argument seems to have some surface merit, I will disagree based on the argument of culture; the Native people, French and Spanish settlers in the Americas had access to the same "low hanging fruit" of land, labour and resources yet were not able to capitalize to anywhere the same extent as the British/Americans did (and as the lineal descendants of the "British", we certainly never capitalized on our advantages to the same level as the Americans).

How we are organized, how we relate to each other, how we define and exercise our rights is far more important than what resources are at hand; Ancient Athens, Republican Venice or modern Japan had (or have) powerful economies and the ability to influence events far beyond what might be predicted on their available resources and manpower. American political culture changed through the 20th century, and the culmination of these changes took effect in the late 1960's (LBJ's "Great Society" programs), leading to today.

http://www.amazon.com/Great-Stagnation-Low-Hanging-Eventually-ebook/dp/B004H0M8QS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295383584&sr=8-1/insta0c-20

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America is in disarray and our economy is failing us. We have been through the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, unemployment remains stubbornly high, and talk of a double-dip recession persists. Americans are not pulling the world economy out of its sluggish state -- if anything we are looking to Asia to drive a recovery.Median wages have risen only slowly since the 1970s, and this multi-decade stagnation is not yet over. By contrast, the living standards of earlier generations would double every few decades. The Democratic Party seeks to expand government spending even when the middle class feels squeezed, the public sector doesn’t always perform well, and we have no good plan for paying for forthcoming entitlement spending. To the extent Republicans have a consistent platform, it consists of unrealistic claims about how tax cuts will raise revenue and stimulate economic growth. The Republicans, when they hold power, are often a bigger fiscal disaster than the Democrats. How did we get into this mess?Imagine a tropical island where the citrus and bananas hang from the trees. Low-hanging literal fruit -- you don’t even have to cook the stuff.In a figurative sense, the American economy has enjoyed lots of low-hanging fruit since at least the seventeenth century: free land; immigrant labor; and powerful new technologies. Yet during the last forty years, that low-hanging fruit started disappearing and we started pretending it was still there. We have failed to recognize that we are at a technological plateau and the trees are barer than we would like to think. That’s it. That is what has gone wrong.The problem won’t be solved overnight, but there are reasons to be optimistic. We simply have to recognize the underlying causes of our past prosperity—low hanging fruit—and how we will come upon more of it.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #54 on: February 26, 2011, 00:50:59 »
Going back to basics. This is an exerpt from a much longer post (well worth reading) about how Thucydides saw how the world was organized, and what that meant for understanding the hows and whys of events:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/02/24/thucydides-hates-realists/

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Reading Thucydides’ history of the Peloponnesian War this semester I’ve been reminded rather forcefully that ‘realist’ is one of those words in common discourse without any consistent or secure definition attached to it. Thucydides is often invoked as the father of realism in foreign policy, but his approach to the way the world works has little to do with the way this term is frequently used by political scientists today. . . . For Thucydides, the internal politics of a state are crucial to understanding and anticipating the policies of that state. Sparta has a set of interests that are not dictated by the nature of the international system so much as by the structure of Spartan society. The need to keep the Spartan population on a constant military footing and the need to keep the armies close at home derive from the need to keep the Helots under control. Another kind of city standing where Sparta stood, and with exactly the same powers and great powers around it, might well have had a completely different set of interests and adopted a completely different set of policies. . . . Theoretical realism would strike Thucydides as barking nonsense — the kind of idea that could only appeal to people with little experience of actual affairs. Thucydides was not a realist in this sense; he was something much smarter. He was realistic.

In the world Thucydides writes about, interests matter. State interests, personal ambition, family and clan interests, the perceived interests of piety and religion, party and factional interests, economic interests: they all matter. But Thucydides seems more agnostic about which of these matter most at any given time.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #55 on: February 26, 2011, 19:51:55 »
The economy and the seeming decline of the US is a direct result of Obama's policies. For example gas prices are on the rise because of the middle east,but Obama's anti-fossil fuels policies prevent the US from even tapping its own resources,as a result we will be at the mercy of the middle east for quite some time. Increasingly on the foreign affairs front Obama gets no respect from anywhere[not that he deserves respect].Pakistan holds a US citizen with a diplomatic passport and despite threats to force his release the man remains in a Pakistani jail. I wonder if Obama threatened Pakistan's foreign aid payments maybe they would deport the CIA contract employee.Meanwhile every day in Pakistani custody the contractor is at risk.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #56 on: February 27, 2011, 18:53:29 »
A positive assessment. In the long run, I think this is the correct assessment (remember the Reagan Administration turned things around quite quickly after the Carter administration). The issue is culture:

http://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/02/24/022411-opinions-column-americandream-dalmia-1-2/

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Long live the American dream
There are many reasons why India and China have nothing on us
BY SHIKHA DALMIA THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2011

Americans, hit first by outsourcing and then a recession, are becoming deeply pessimistic about their country’s ability to maintain its economic leadership. America’s Aristophanes, Jon Stewart, commented during a recent interview with the author of "India Calling," Anand Giridhardas: "The American dream is still alive — it’s just alive in India." Likewise, 20 percent of Americans in a December National Journal poll believed the U.S. economy was no longer the strongest. Nearly half picked China instead.

But there are at least five reasons why neither India nor China will knock America off its economic perch anytime soon, at least not by the only measure that matters: Offering the best life to the most people.

America wastes no talent

Conventional wisdom holds that America’s global competitiveness is driven by geniuses flocking to its shores and producing breathtaking inventions. But America’s real genius lies not in tapping just genius — but every scrap of talent up and down the scale.

A 2005 World Bank study found that the bulk of a people’s wealth comes not from tangible capital like raw resources and infrastructure. It comes from intangible wealth: effective government, secure property rights, a functioning judiciary. Such intangible factors put the equivalent of $418,000 at the disposal of every American resident. In India and China, it's $3,738 and $4,208, respectively.

America’s vast intangible wealth makes everyone more productive and successful. Personal attributes — talent, looks, smarts — matter only on the margins. Having witnessed the life trajectory of many Indian immigrants, what’s striking to me is that, with some exceptions, it doesn’t matter whether they are the best or mediocre in their profession in India: They all end up with similar standards of living here.

America does not have India’s infrastructure deficit or China’s civil society deficit

India’s gap with America extends not just to intangible capital but tangible capital as well. Basic facilities in India — roads, water, sewage — remain primitive. For example, a 2010 McKinsey Global Institute report found that India treats 30 percent of raw sewage, whereas the international norm is 100 percent. It needs to spend twice the slated expenditures over the next 10 years to deliver basic services.

China, meanwhile, has a major civil society problem. Its one-child policy has decimated the natural safety net that old people rely on in traditional societies. And China offers no public safety net to the vast majority born in villages. Worse, many Chinese have invested their nest eggs is various asset bubbles that will wipe out their only means of subsistence if they burst.

America does not have grinding poverty

Despite all the recent hoopla about China becoming the world’s second-biggest economy and India hoping to follow suit, the reality is that the per-capita GDP — even measured by purchasing power parity — in both is pathetic. America’s is about $47,000, China’s $7,500 and India’s $3,290.

Worse, both still harbor medieval levels of poverty, with 300 million people in each living on less than $1.25 a day. India’s IT boom gets big press, but it — along with all the tertiary industries it has spawned — employs 2.3 million people, or 0.2 percent of the population.

American education is vastly superior to India’s or China’s

President Obama claims America is in an "education arms race" with India and China. Rubbish.

Despite all the horror stories about American kids underperforming on standardized tests, things are worse in India and China. India’s literacy rate is 66 percent. China puts its at 93 percent, but between 2000 and 2005, China’s illiterate population grew by 30 million. The same may happen in India, thanks to last year’s Right to Education Act, the regulations of which will cripple India’s private school market. The fundamental problem is that both countries put their resources into educating elite kids — and ignoring the rest.

Unless more Indian and Chinese kids get access to a quality education, their countries won’t be able to actualize their human potential, precisely what America does so well.

America doesn’t have a culture of hype

An important reason U.S. gloom-and-doom is unjustified is that there is so much gloom-and-doom. Indians and Chinese, by contrast, have drunk their own Kool-Aid. Their moribund economies have barely kicked into action and they are entertaining dreams of being the next economic superpowers. That bespeaks a profound megalomania. There is not a culture of hope in these countries, as Giridhardas told Stewart, but a culture of hype.

By contrast, when America’s government responds ineffectually to the recession, Americans go into panic mode. Grassroots movements like the Tea Party emerge to rein in the government. Pay Pal founder Peter Theil has even given $850,000 to the Seasteading Institute to establish new countries on the sea to experiment with government. This might be wacky, but it puts an outside limit on how out-of-whack Americans will let their institutions get before they start fixing them.

This, ultimately, is the biggest reason to believe that the American dream is and will stay alive — in America.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #57 on: March 15, 2011, 09:08:07 »
Part 1 of 3

...  In the case of many of the "Tea Party" I've tried to get from them a cogent, coherent argument of what specifically they want in terms of policy directions in the United States, and I have come to realize that a good portion of them (though I have no basis to claim any specific proportion) have pretty much no idea ...


The above, from another, different Army.ca page, is a common complaint. In this article, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from Foreign Affairs, distinguished historian and foreign policy analyst Walter Russell Mead tries to answer the question, at last in so far as it pertains to foreign policy:

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The Tea Party and American Foreign Policy
What Populism Means for Globalism
 
By Walter Russell Mead
March/April 2011

During the night of December 16, 1773, somewhere between 30 and 130 men, a few disguised as Mohawk Indians, boarded three merchant ships in Boston Harbor and destroyed 342 chests of tea to protest duties imposed by the British parliament. Samuel Adams was widely considered to be the ringleader of the demonstration. The historical record is ambiguous; he disclaimed all responsibility while doing everything possible to publicize the event. The next year, a more decorous tea party occurred in Edenton, North Carolina, when Mrs. Penelope Barker convened 51 women to support the colony's resistance to British taxation. Tea was neither destroyed nor consumed, but something even more momentous happened that day: Barker's gathering is believed to have been the first women's political meeting in British North America.

Both tea parties stirred British opinion. Although prominent Whigs, such as John Wilkes and Edmund Burke, supported the Americans against King George III and his handpicked government, the lawlessness of Boston and the unheard-of political activism of the women of Edenton seemed proof to many in the mother country that the colonials were violent and barbaric. The idea of a women's political meeting was shocking enough to merit coverage in the London press, where the resolutions taken by the Edenton activists were reprinted in full. The British writer Samuel Johnson published a pamphlet denouncing the colonials' tea parties and their arguments against imperial taxation, writing, "These antipatriotic prejudices are the abortions of folly impregnated by faction."

Today, tea parties have returned, and Johnson's objections still resonate. The modern Tea Party movement began in February 2009 as an on-air rant by a CNBC financial reporter who, from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, called for a Chicago tea party to protest the taxpayer-financed bailout of mortgage defaulters. Objecting to what they saw as the undue growth of government spending and government power under President Barack Obama, Republicans and like-minded independents (backed by wealthy sympathizers) soon built a network of organizations across the United States. Energized to some degree by persistently favorable coverage on Fox News (and perhaps equally energized by less sympathetic treatment in what the Tea Party heroine Sarah Palin has dubbed "the lamestream media"), Tea Party activists rapidly shook up American politics and contributed to the wave of anti-big-government sentiment that made the 2010 elections a significant Democratic defeat.

The rise of the Tea Party movement has been the most controversial and dramatic development in U.S. politics in many years. Supporters have hailed it as a return to core American values; opponents have seen it as a racist, reactionary, and ultimately futile protest against the emerging reality of a multicultural, multiracial United States and a new era of government activism.

The Tea Party itself may disappear, but the populist energy that powers it will not go away soon.

To some degree, this controversy is impossible to resolve. The Tea Party movement is an amorphous collection of individuals and groups that range from center right to the far fringes of American political life. It lacks a central hierarchy that can direct the movement or even declare who belongs to it and who does not. As the Tea Party label became better known, all kinds of people sought to hitch their wagons to this rising star. Affluent suburban libertarians, rural fundamentalists, ambitious pundits, unreconstructed racists, and fiscally conservative housewives all can and do claim to be Tea Party supporters.

The Fox News host Glenn Beck may be the most visible spokesperson for the Tea Party, but his religious views (extremely strong and very Mormon) hardly typify the movement, in which libertarians are often more active than social conservatives and Ayn Rand is a more influential prophet than Brigham Young. There is little evidence that the reading lists and history lessons that Beck offers on his nightly program appeal to more than a small percentage of the movement's supporters. (In a March 2010 public opinion poll, 37 percent of respondents expressed support for the Tea Party, suggesting that about 115 million Americans sympathize at least partly with the movement; Beck's audience on Fox averages 2.6 million.)

Other prominent political figures associated with the Tea Party also send a contradictory mix of messages. The Texas congressman Ron Paul and his (somewhat less doctrinaire) son, the newly elected Kentucky senator Rand Paul, come close to resurrecting isolationism. The conservative commentator Pat Buchanan echoes criticisms of the U.S.-Israeli alliance made by such scholars as John Mearsheimer. Palin, on the other hand, is a full-throated supporter of the "war on terror" and, as governor of Alaska, kept an Israeli flag in her office.

If the movement resists easy definition, its impact on the November 2010 midterm elections is also hard to state with precision. On the one hand, the excitement that Tea Party figures such as Palin brought to the Republican campaign clearly helped the party attract candidates, raise money, and get voters to the polls in an off-year election. The GOP victory in the House of Representatives, the largest gain by either major party since 1938, would likely have been much less dramatic without the energy generated by the Tea Party. On the other hand, public doubts about some Tea Party candidates, such as Delaware's Christine O'Donnell, who felt it necessary to buy advertising time to tell voters, "I am not a witch," probably cost Republicans between two and four seats in the Senate, ending any chance for a GOP takeover of that chamber.

In Alaska, Palin and the Tea Party leaders endorsed the senatorial candidate Joe Miller, who defeated the incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary. Miller went on to lose the general election, however, after Murkowski organized the first successful write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate since Strom Thurmond was elected from South Carolina in 1954. If libertarian Alaska rejects a Palin-endorsed Tea Party candidate, then there are reasons to doubt the movement's long-term ability to dominate politics across the rest of the country.

But with all its ambiguities and its uneven political record, the Tea Party movement has clearly struck a nerve in American politics, and students of American foreign policy need to think through the consequences of this populist and nationalist political insurgency. That is particularly true because the U.S. constitutional system allows minorities to block appointments and important legislation through filibusters and block the ratification of treaties with only one-third of the Senate. For a movement of "No!" like the Tea Party, those are powerful legislative tools. As is so often the case in the United States, to understand the present and future of American politics, one must begin by coming to grips with the past. The Tea Party movement taps deep roots in U.S. history, and past episodes of populist rebellion can help one think intelligently about the trajectory of the movement today.

A NEW AGE OF JACKSON?

The historian Jill Lepore's book The Whites of Their Eyes makes the point that many Tea Party activists have a crude understanding of the politics of the American Revolution. Yet however unsophisticated the Tea Party's reading of the past may be, the movement's appeal to Colonial history makes sense. From Colonial times, resentment of the well-bred, the well-connected, and the well-paid has merged with suspicion about the motives and methods of government insiders to produce populist rebellions against the established political order. This form of American populism is often called "Jacksonianism" after Andrew Jackson, the president who tapped this populist energy in the 1830s to remake the United States' party system and introduce mass electoral politics into the country for good.

Antiestablishment populism has been responsible for some of the brightest, as well as some of the darkest, moments in U.S. history. The populists who rallied to Jackson established universal white male suffrage in the United States -- and saddled the country with a crash-prone financial system for 80 years by destroying the Second Bank of the United States. Later generations of populists would rein in monopolistic corporations and legislate basic protections for workers while opposing federal protection of minorities threatened with lynching. The demand of Jacksonian America for cheap or, better, free land in the nineteenth century led to the Homestead Act, which allowed millions of immigrants and urban workers to start family farms. It also led to the systematic and sometimes genocidal removal of Native Americans from their traditional hunting grounds and a massively subsidized "farm bubble" that helped bring about the Great Depression. Populist hunger for land in the twentieth century paved the way for an era of federally subsidized home mortgages and the devastating burst of the housing bubble.

Jacksonian populism does not always have a clear-cut program. In the nineteenth century, the Jacksonians combined a strong aversion to government debt with demands that the government's most valuable asset (title to the vast public lands of the West) be transferred to homesteaders at no cost. Today's Jacksonians want the budget balanced -- but are much less enthusiastic about cutting middle-class entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Ron Paul looks for ways to avoid contact with the world, whereas Sarah Palin would rather win than withdraw.

Intellectually, Jacksonian ideas are rooted in the commonsense tradition of the Scottish Enlightenment. This philosophy -- that moral, scientific, political, and religious truths can be ascertained by the average person -- is more than an intellectual conviction in the United States; it is a cultural force. Jacksonians regard supposed experts with suspicion, believing that the credentialed and the connected are trying to advance their own class agenda. These political, economic, scientific, or cultural elites often want to assert truths that run counter to the commonsense reasoning of Jacksonian America. That federal deficits produce economic growth and that free trade with low-wage countries raises Americans' living standards are the kind of propositions that clash with the common sense of many Americans. In the not too distant past, so did the assertion that people of different races deserved equal treatment before the law.

Sometimes those elites are right, and sometimes they are wrong, but their ability to win voter approval for policies that seem counterintuitive is a critical factor in the American political system. In times like the present, when a surge of populist political energy coincides with a significant loss of popular confidence in establishment institutions -- ranging from the mainstream media and the foreign policy and intellectual establishments to the financial and corporate leadership and the government itself -- Jacksonian sentiment diminishes the ability of elite institutions and their members to shape national debates and policy. The rejection of the scientific consensus on climate change is one of many examples of populist revolt against expert consensus in the United States today.

The Tea Party movement is best understood as a contemporary revolt of Jacksonian common sense against elites perceived as both misguided and corrupt. And although the movement itself may splinter and even disappear, the populist energy that powers it will not go away soon. Jacksonianism is always an important force in American politics; at times of social and economic stress and change, like the present, its importance tends to grow. Even though it is by no means likely that the new Jacksonians will gain full control of the government anytime soon (or perhaps ever), the influence of the populist revolt against mainstream politics has become so significant that students of U.S. foreign policy must consider its consequences.

End of Part 1 of 3
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #58 on: March 15, 2011, 09:10:24 »
Part 2 of 3

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THE POPULISTS' COLD WAR

In foreign policy, Jacksonians embrace a set of strongly nationalist ideas. They combine a firm belief in American exceptionalism and an American world mission with deep skepticism about the United States' ability to create a liberal world order. They draw a sharp contrast between the Lockean political order that prevails at home with what they see as a Hobbesian international system: in a competitive world, each sovereign state must place its own interests first. They intuitively accept a Westphalian view of international relations: what states do domestically may earn one's contempt, but a country should only react when states violate their international obligations or attack it. When the United States is attacked, they believe in total war leading to the unconditional surrender of the enemy. They are prepared to support wholesale violence against enemy civilians in the interest of victory; they do not like limited wars for limited goals. Although they value allies and believe that the United States must honor its word, they do not believe in institutional constraints on the United States' freedom to act, unilaterally if necessary, in self-defense. Historically, Jacksonians have never liked international economic agreements or systems that limit the U.S. government's ability to pursue loose credit policies at home.

Finding populist support for U.S. foreign policy has been the central domestic challenge for policymakers ever since President Franklin Roosevelt struggled to build domestic support for an increasingly interventionist policy vis-à-vis the Axis powers. The Japanese solved Roosevelt's problem by attacking Pearl Harbor, but his sensitivity to Jacksonian opinion did not end with the United States' entry into World War II. From his embrace of unconditional surrender as a war objective to his internment of Japanese Americans, Roosevelt always had a careful eye out for the concerns of this constituency. If he had thought Jacksonian America would have accepted the indefinite stationing of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops abroad, he might have taken a harder line with the Soviet Union on the future of Eastern Europe.

The need to attract and hold populist support also influenced Harry Truman's foreign policy, particularly his approach to Soviet expansionism and larger questions of world order. Key policymakers in the Truman administration, such as Secretary of State Dean Acheson, believed that the collapse of the United Kingdom as a world power had left a vacuum that the United States had no choice but to fill. The United Kingdom had historically served as the gyroscope of world order, managing the international economic system, keeping the sea-lanes open, and protecting the balance of power in the chief geostrategic theaters of the world. Truman administration officials agreed that the Great Depression and World War II could in large part be blamed on the United States' failure to take up the burden of global leadership as the United Kingdom declined. The Soviet disruption of the balance of power in Europe and the Middle East after World War II was, they believed, exactly the kind of challenge to world order that the United States now had to meet.

The problem, as policymakers saw it, was that Jacksonian opinion was not interested in assuming the mantle of the United Kingdom. The Jacksonians were ready to act against definite military threats and, after two world wars, were prepared to support a more active security policy overseas in the 1940s than they were in the 1920s. But to enlist their support for a far-reaching foreign policy, Truman and Acheson believed that it was necessary to define U.S. foreign policy in terms of opposing the Soviet Union and its communist ideology rather than as an effort to secure a liberal world order. Acheson's decision to be "clearer than truth" when discussing the threat of communism and Truman's decision to take Senator Arthur Vandenberg's advice and "scare [the] hell out of the country" ignited populist fears about the Soviet Union, which helped the administration get congressional support for aid to Greece and Turkey and the Marshall Plan. Political leaders at the time concluded that without such appeals, Congress would not have provided the requested support, and historians generally agree.

But having roused the sleeping dogs of anticommunism, the Truman administration would spend the rest of its time in office trying (and sometimes failing) to cope with the forces it had unleashed. Once convinced that communism was an immediate threat to national security, the Jacksonians wanted a more hawkish policy than Acheson and his planning chief, George Kennan, thought was wise. The success of Mao Zedong's revolution in China -- and the seeming indifference of the Truman administration to the fate of the world's most populous country and its network of missionary institutions and Christian converts -- inflamed Jacksonian opinion and set the stage for Senator Joseph McCarthy's politics of paranoia in the 1950s.

Communism was in many ways a perfect enemy for Jacksonian America, and for the next 40 years, public opinion sustained the high defense budgets and foreign military commitments required to fight it. The priorities of the Cold War from a Jacksonian perspective -- above all, the military containment of communism wherever communists, or left-wing nationalists willing to ally with them, were active -- did not always fit comfortably with the Hamiltonian (commercial and realist) and Wilsonian (idealist and generally multilateral) priorities held by many U.S. policymakers. But in general, the mix of policies necessary to promote a liberal world order was close enough to what was needed to wage a struggle against the Soviets that the liberal-world-order builders were able to attract enough Jacksonian support for their project. The need to compete with the Soviets provided a rationale for a whole series of U.S. initiatives -- the development of a liberal trading system under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Marshall Plan aid tied to the promotion of European economic integration, development assistance in Africa, Asia, and Latin America -- that also had the effect of building a new international system encompassing the noncommunist world.

Bobby Jindal is in every way a better governor of Louisiana than Huey Long.

This approach enabled the United States to win the Cold War and build a flexible, dynamic, and reasonably stable international system that, after 1989, gradually and for the most part peacefully absorbed the majority of the former communist states. It did, however, leave a political vulnerability at the core of the U.S. foreign policy debate, a vulnerability that threatens to become much more serious going forward: today's Jacksonians are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the United States, but they do not believe that U.S. interests are best served by the creation of a liberal and cosmopolitan world order.

AFTER THE END OF HISTORY

After the Soviet Union disobligingly collapsed in 1991, the United States endeavored to maintain and extend its efforts to build a liberal world order. On the one hand, these projects no longer faced the opposition of a single determined enemy; on the other hand, American leaders had to find domestic support for complex, risky, and expensive foreign initiatives without invoking the Soviet threat.

This did not look difficult at first. In the heady aftermath of the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe, it seemed to many as if the task would be so easy and so cheap that U.S. policymakers could cut defense and foreign aid budgets while a liberal world order largely constructed itself. No powerful states or ideologies opposed the principles of the American world order, and both the economic agenda of liberalizing trade and finance and the Wilsonian agenda of extending democracy were believed to be popular at home and abroad.

Clear domestic constraints on U.S. foreign policy began to appear during the 1990s. The Clinton administration devoted intense efforts to cultivating obstructionist legislators, such as Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, but it was increasingly unable to get the resources and support needed to carry out what it believed were important elements of the United States' agenda abroad. Congress balked at paying the country's UN dues in a timely fashion and, after the GOP congressional takeover in 1994, opposed a range of proposed and actual military interventions. The Senate recoiled from treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol and refused to join the International Criminal Court. The relentless decline in support for free trade after the bitter fights over the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement and U.S. entry into the new World Trade Organization in the early 1990s left U.S. diplomats negotiating within a tightening range of constraints, which soon led to a steady deceleration in the construction of a liberal global trading regime.

September 11, 2001, changed this. The high level of perceived threat after the attacks put U.S. foreign policy back to the position it had enjoyed in 1947-48: convinced that an external threat was immediate and real, the public was ready to support enormous expenditures of treasure and blood to counter it. Jacksonians cared about foreign policy again, and the George W. Bush administration had an opportunity to repeat the accomplishment of the Truman administration by using public concern about a genuine security threat to energize public support for a far-reaching program of building a liberal world order.

Historians will be discussing for years to come why the Bush administration missed this opportunity. It may be that in the years after 9/11, the administration was so determined to satisfy domestic Jacksonian opinion that it constructed a response to terrorism -- the kind of no-holds-barred total war preferred by Jacksonians -- that would inevitably undercut its ability to engage with key partners at home and abroad. In any case, by January 2009, the United States was engaged in two wars and a variety of counterterrorism activities around the world but lacked anything like a domestic consensus on even the broadest outlines of foreign policy.

The Obama administration came into office believing that the Bush administration had been too Jacksonian and that its resulting policy choices were chaotic, incoherent, and self-defeating. Uncritically pro-Israel, unilateralist, indifferent to the requirements of international law, too quick to respond with force, contemptuous of international institutions and norms, blind to the importance of non-terrorism-related threats such as climate change, and addicted to polarizing, us-against-them rhetoric, the Bush administration was, the incoming Democrats believed, a textbook case of Jacksonianism run wild. Recognizing the enduring power of Jacksonians in U.S. politics but convinced that their ideas were wrong-headed and outdated, the Obama administration decided that it would make what it believed were the minimum necessary concessions to Jacksonian sentiments while committing itself to a set of policies intended to build a world order on a largely Wilsonian basis. Rather than embracing the "global war on terror" as an overarching strategic umbrella under which it could position a range of aid, trade, and institution-building initiatives, it has repositioned the terrorism threat as one among many threats the United States faces and has separated its world-order-building activities from its vigorous work to combat terrorism.

It is much too early to predict how this will turn out, but it is already clear that the Obama administration faces serious challenges in building support for its foreign policy in a polarized, and to some degree traumatized, domestic environment. The administration is trying to steer U.S. foreign policy away from Jacksonian approaches just as a confluence of foreign and domestic developments are creating a new Jacksonian moment in U.S. politics. The United States faces a continuing threat of terrorism involving domestic as well as foreign extremists, a threat from China that includes both international security challenges in Asia and a type of economic rivalry that Jacksonians associate with the economic woes of the middle class, and a looming federal debt crisis that endangers both the prosperity and the security of the country. The combination of these threats with the perceived cultural and social conflict between "arrogant" elites with counterintuitive ideas and "average" Americans relying on common sense creates the ideal conditions for a major Jacksonian storm in U.S. politics. The importance of the Jacksonian resurgence goes beyond the political problems of the Obama administration; the development of foreign policy strategies that can satisfy Jacksonian requirements at home while also working effectively in the international arena is likely to be the greatest single challenge facing U.S. administrations for some time to come.

End of Part 2 of 3
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #59 on: March 15, 2011, 09:12:09 »
Part 3 of 3

Quote
THE TEA PARTY CHALLENGE

Forecasting how this newly energized populist movement will influence foreign policy is difficult. Public opinion is responsive to events; a terrorist attack inside U.S. borders or a crisis in East Asia or the Middle East could transform the politics of U.S. foreign policy overnight. A further worsening of the global economic situation could further polarize the politics of both domestic and foreign policy in the United States.

Nevertheless, some trends seem clear. The first is that the contest in the Tea Party between what might be called its Palinite and its Paulite wings will likely end in a victory for the Palinites. Ron Paul represents an inward-looking, neo-isolationist approach to foreign policy that has more in common with classic Jeffersonian ideas than with assertive Jacksonian nationalism. Although both wings share, for example, a visceral hostility to anything that smacks of "world government," Paul and his followers look for ways to avoid contact with the world, whereas such contemporary Jacksonians as Sarah Palin and the Fox News host Bill O'Reilly would rather win than withdraw. "We don't need to be the world's policeman," says Paul. Palin might say something similar, but she would be quick to add that we also do not want to give the bad guys any room.

Similarly, the Palinite wing of the Tea Party wants a vigorous, proactive approach to the problem of terrorism in the Middle East, one that rests on a close alliance between the United States and Israel. The Paulite wing would rather distance the United States from Israel as part of a general reduction of the United States' profile in a part of the world from which little good can be expected. The Paulites are likely to lose this contest because the commonsense reasoning of the American people now generally takes as axiomatic something that seemed much more controversial in the 1930s: that security at home cannot be protected without substantial engagement overseas. The rise of China and the sullen presence of the threat of terrorism reinforce this perception, and the more dangerous the world feels, the more Jacksonian America sees a need to prepare, to seek reliable allies, and to act. A period like that between 1989 and 2001, when Jacksonian America did not identify any serious threats from abroad, is unlikely to arise anytime soon; the great mass of Tea Party America does not seem headed toward a new isolationism.

Jacksonian support for Israel will also be a factor. Sympathetic to Israel and concerned about both energy security and terrorism, Jacksonians are likely to accept and even demand continued U.S. diplomatic, political, and military engagement in the Middle East. Not all American Jacksonians back Israel, but in general, rising Jacksonian political influence in the United States will lead to stronger support in Washington for the Jewish state. This support does not proceed simply from evangelical Christian influence. Many Jacksonians are not particularly religious, and many of the pro-Jacksonian "Reagan Democrats" are Roman Catholics. But Jacksonians admire Israeli courage and self-reliance -- and they do not believe that Arab governments are trustworthy or reliable allies. They are generally untroubled by Israeli responses to terrorist attacks, which many observers deem "disproportionate." Jacksonian common sense does not give much weight to the concept of disproportionate force, believing that if you are attacked, you have the right and even the duty to respond with overwhelming force until the enemy surrenders. That may or may not be a viable strategy in the modern Middle East, but Jacksonians generally accept Israel's right to defend itself in whatever way it chooses. They are more likely to criticize Israel for failing to act firmly in Gaza and southern Lebanon than to criticize it for overreacting to terrorist attacks. Jacksonians still believe that the use of nuclear weapons against Japan in 1945 was justified; they argue that military strength is there to be used.

Any increase in Jacksonian political strength makes a military response to the Iranian nuclear program more likely. Although the public's reaction to the progress of North Korea's nuclear program has been relatively mild, recent polls show that up to 64 percent of the U.S. public favors military strikes to end the Iranian nuclear program. Deep public concerns over oil and Israel, combined with memories of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis among older Americans, put Iran's nuclear program in Jacksonians' cross hairs. Polls show that more than 50 percent of the public believes the United States should defend Israel against Iran -- even if Israel sets off hostilities by launching the first strike. Many U.S. presidents have been dragged into war reluctantly by aroused public opinion; to the degree that Congress and the public are influenced by Jacksonian ideas, a president who allows Iran to get nuclear weapons without using military action to try to prevent it would face political trouble. (Future presidents should, however, take care. Military engagements undertaken without a clear strategy for victory can backfire disastrously. Lyndon Johnson committed himself to war in Southeast Asia because he believed, probably correctly, that Jacksonian fury at a communist victory in Vietnam would undermine his domestic goals. The story did not end well.)

On other issues, Paulites and Palinites are united in their dislike for liberal internationalism -- the attempt to conduct international relations through multilateral institutions under an ever-tightening web of international laws and treaties. From climate change to the International Criminal Court to the treatment of enemy combatants captured in unconventional conflicts, both wings of the Tea Party reject liberal internationalist ideas and will continue to do so. The U.S. Senate, in which each state is allotted two senators regardless of the state's population, heavily favors the less populated states, where Jacksonian sentiment is often strongest. The United States is unlikely to ratify many new treaties written in the spirit of liberal internationalism for some time to come.

The new era in U.S. politics could see foreign policy elites struggling to receive a hearing for their ideas from a skeptical public. "The Council on Foreign Relations," the pundit Beck said in January 2010, "was a progressive idea of, let's take media and eggheads and figure out what the idea is, what the solution is, then teach it to the media, and they'll let the masses know what should be done." Tea Partiers intend to be vigilant to insure that elites with what the movement calls their "one-world government" ideas and bureaucratic agendas of class privilege do not dominate foreign policy debates. The United States may return to a time when prominent political leaders found it helpful to avoid too public an association with institutions and ideas perceived as distant from, and even hostile to, the interests and values of Jacksonian America.

Concern about China has been growing for some time in American opinion, and the Jacksonian surge makes it more likely that the simmering anger and resentment will come to a boil. Free trade is an issue that has historically divided populists in the United States (agrarians have tended to like it; manufacturing workers have not); even though Jacksonians like to buy cheap goods at Walmart, common sense largely leads them to believe that the first job of trade negotiators ought to be to preserve U.S. jobs rather than embrace visionary "win-win" global schemes.

POPULISM IN PERSPECTIVE

More broadly, across a range of issues, both wings of the Tea Party will seek to reopen the discussion about whether U.S. foreign policy should be nationalist or cosmopolitan. The Paulite wing would ideally like to end any kind of American participation in the construction of a liberal world order. The Palinite wing leans toward a more moderate position of wanting to ensure that what world-order building Washington does clearly proceeds from a consideration of specific national interests rather than the world's reliance on the United States as a kind of disinterested promoter of the global good. Acheson, no friend of grandiose institutional schemes, might find something to sympathize with here; in any event, foreign-policy makers should welcome the opportunity to hold a serious discussion on the relationship of specific U.S. interests to the requirements of a liberal world order.

There is much in the Tea Party movement to give foreign policy thinkers pause, but effective foreign policy must always begin with a realistic assessment of the facts on the ground. Today's Jacksonians are unlikely to disappear. Americans should rejoice that in many ways the Tea Party movement, warts and all, is a significantly more capable and reliable partner for the United States' world-order-building tasks than were the isolationists of 60 years ago. Compared to the Jacksonians during the Truman administration, today's are less racist, less antifeminist, less homophobic, and more open to an appreciation of other cultures and worldviews. Their starting point, that national security requires international engagement, is considerably more auspicious than the knee-jerk isolationism that Truman and Acheson faced. Even in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was no public support for the equivalent of the internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor, nor has there been anything like the anticommunist hysteria of the McCarthy era. Today's southern Republican populists are far more sympathetic to core liberal capitalist concepts than were the populist supporters of William Jennings Bryan a century ago. Bobby Jindal is in every way a better governor of Louisiana than Huey Long was -- and there is simply no comparison between Senator Jim DeMint, of South Carolina, and "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman.

Foreign policy mandarins often wish the public would leave them alone so that they can get on with the serious business of statecraft. That is not going to happen in the United States. If the Tea Party movement fades away, other voices of populist protest will take its place. American policymakers and their counterparts overseas simply cannot do their jobs well without a deep understanding of what is one of the principal forces in American political life.


Now, it helps to understand the constant references to e.g. Jacksonians if one has read Mead’s Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World, but I think his broad analysis is both accurate and coherent.

The “Tea Partiers’ are not totally in the thrall of Glenn Beck et al but they are, as Mead says, ”an amorphous collection of individuals and groups that range from center right to the far fringes of American political life. [The Tea Party] lacks a central hierarchy that can direct the movement or even declare who belongs to it and who does not. As the Tea Party label became better known, all kinds of people sought to hitch their wagons to this rising star. Affluent suburban libertarians, rural fundamentalists, ambitious pundits, unreconstructed racists, and fiscally conservative housewives all can and do claim to be Tea Party supporters.” Mead gives them a voice and puts some flesh on the skeletons in their thinking.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #60 on: March 22, 2011, 10:32:45 »
Another three parter looking at similarities between Rome at the time of the Punic Wars and the situation today:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/03/21/strategic-lessons-from-hannibals-war/

Quote
Strategic Lessons From Hannibal’s War
Walter Russell Mead

With the world melting down and the Bard semester heating up, I’ve fallen behind in my grand strategy posts; apologies to all and I hope to catch up with a post next week (during Bard’s spring break) on Machiavelli. But today’s business is still the Second Punic War, the conflict between Carthage and Rome that engulfed most of the Mediterranean world in what would prove to be the most important war in the history of what would, thanks to Rome’s victory, one day become western civilization.

In the last post I wrote about how Rome had a grand strategy that was bigger and deeper than tactical questions like where you put your cavalry and your Balearic slingers in the battle.  It was a strategy of state construction and institution building.  Carthage could defeat Roman armies in Italy, Gaul and Spain, massacring troops, capturing standards and killing consuls.  But Rome could always produce more — even coming up with a third Scipio after two successful generals of that family were killed in Spain.

This is clearly one of the strengths that the British and the Americans brought to the last three hundred years of world history in which we’ve established a global hegemony as strong and as influential as the great empires of old.  There was a social and an economic resilience to the two English speaking great powers of the modern world that enabled them to outlast competitors like Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler and the Soviet Union.  “England loses every battle but the last,” they used to say.  Hannibal and Napoleon (and for that matter Robert E. Lee) were brilliant commanders, but their brilliance could not overcome the deeply rooted institutional and economic disadvantages they faced.

More than resilience, there was something about the Anglo-American world that kept it at the forefront of technology and culture.  I’ve written about this in God and Gold; it’s been easier for the English speaking world to adapt to and take advantage of capitalism than for cultures like Russia’s.  Our political institutions are more flexible, our culture less threatened by change, and our people more willing to put up with the inconveniences and upheavals that rapid capitalist development entails.

There are other points of contact between the Punic War and the modern era.  One is that the Punic War came at a time when the geopolitical center of gravity was shifting.  Historically the eastern Mediterranean had been the home of civilization and therefore of civilization’s constant companion: war.  The international system of the Levant was centuries old by the time of Hannibal.  Three great empires in five hundred years — Assyria, Babylon, Persia — converted their mastery of the fertile delta into hegemonic power throughout the region.  The wars between the Greek city states and the Persian Empire that Herodotus describes, as well as the Peloponnesian War, were centered in the Aegean Sea at the far eastern end of the Mediterranean. Alexander’s conquest of Persia and Egypt, and the subsequent division of his empire into squabbling successor states,  confirmed the idea that the Levant was a kind of self contained geopolitical unit and to master this was to master the known world.

But by the time of the Punic Wars when Carthage and Rome fought for mastery of the Mediterranean world, the old power centers no longer seemed to matter.  Athens and Sparta were inconsiderable powers in the new world order of Hannibal’s war; even Macedonia’s intervention in the war was of relatively minor importance.  Syracuse was the only major Greek city to play a significant role in the Punic Wars, and even Syracuse could only choose to ally itself with one of the two leading powers — King Hiero was Rome’s loyal sidekick, not an independent actor.

The great battles of the Punic Wars were fought in places Thucydides did not know much about: Spain, Portugal, North Africa, Gaul and Italy.  Greece was an afterthought in the Punic Wars, the Levant a spectator as its fate was decided in the west.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #61 on: March 22, 2011, 10:33:32 »
Part 2:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/03/21/strategic-lessons-from-hannibals-war/

Quote
Change could be quick.  After its defeat in the First Punic War, Carthage rebuilt its fortunes by developing a new economic and political base in Spain.  In 241 BC Carthage controlled a narrow strip of southern Spain; by the outbreak of the Second Punic War in 218 BC, much of modern Spain had been brought into the Carthaginian empire and both Carthaginian and Roman forces would engage in battles as far afield as modern Portugal.

The booming economic growth in the western Mediterranean created a new political situation as new trade routes, new cities and new sources of minerals transformed the region.   The East was filled with old powers and stable economies; the west would be dominated by either Carthage or Rome, and the winner would enjoy economic prosperity and security, and  those advantages would enable the dominant power in the west to play off its eastern rivals against one another.  Once Rome had defeated Carthage, it was only a matter of time before the entire Mediterranean coast fell under its sway.

At the time, this meant that whoever controlled Italy would control the Mediterranean world.  Italy faces both east and west; its cities and people had long participated in the Greek economy, but it was also well placed to participate in the economic boom associated with the opening of the west.

Hannibal understood this.  His strategy in the war was to unite everyone worried about Rome’s rising power into a grand global coalition.  He hoped that by leading an army into Italy and defeating Rome on its home ground, he could attract the Greek city states and Rome’s fallen Italian rivals into the coalition.  He reached out to the Macedonians with an offer of alliance, and sought to bring the Gallic tribes into the war.

He lost the war where he won so many victories: Italy.  The problem wasn’t, I think, as many have written: that the Carthaginians refused to resupply him by sea.  That was an obstacle.  His real problem was that he was unable to organize an effective power bloc of anti-Roman forces in Italy itself.  Once the myth of Roman invincibility had been shattered by a series of epochal Carthaginian victories from the Lombard plain down to Apulia, many of Rome’s Italian allies and subjects defected to Hannibal.

But to Hannibal’s horror, these new allies weakened rather than strengthened him.  The defection of the wealthy city state of Capua shook Rome politically, but far from providing Hannibal with reinforcements that could help him beat Rome, Capua turned into a strategic liability.  Hannibal had to protect Capua against Roman revenge or watch all his new allies return to their former allegiance.  In the same way, even the fierce Samnites –  Rome’s most determined antagonists of old — wanted Hannibal to protect them rather than help him beat Rome.

Hannibal hoped, it appears, that after the annihilating victory at Cannae, brave Italian legions would stream to his banner from all over the peninsula, and he could lead a huge army for the bitter and difficult siege of Rome itself.  And much of Italy did flock to his banners — but his new allies were seeking his protection, not adding to his strength. As the war dragged on, Hannibal lost his freedom of action.  By attacking one or another of his new allies, Rome could force Hannibal onto the defensive, on ground and at times of its choosing.  Hannibal’s military and political triumphs thrust him into a defensive struggle which he could not win.

This is what Fabius understood and seized on: Hannibal could not win a long war against Rome.  Fabius wasn’t just aiming to keep Roman armies from destruction by avoiding battle with Hannibal — he could have accomplished that much by sitting behind Rome’s walls.  The continuing presence of Roman armies shadowing Hannibal not only annoyed and harassed Hannibal and gradually degraded his army; it kept Hannibal from establishing a secure zone of power outside Rome’s control and gave the Romans a continuing ability to harass and disrupt trade and traffic from allies in revolt.

It seems that the war had a much deeper impact on the Italian economy than could be accounted for simply by the destruction of battles and the ravages of armies.  Under Roman rule, Italy had become something of a common market, with people and goods able to move freely.  Under Roman naval protection, the ports were able to trade profitably with the east and the west. The disruption of these trade patterns and the radical insecurity that resulted from the fragmentation of Italy as cities broke away from Rome surely created great hardship and reduced the revenues available for self defense or to support Hannibal’s war effort.  That the end of the Pax Romana meant insecurity and want did not do much for Hannibal’s political goals: the longer Italy experienced the miseries of Hannibal’s war, the more benign Roman rule began to seem.  It is not at all clear that more reinforcements from Carthage could have changed this basic equation.

Hannibal was two thirds right: Italy was the key to world power in the Mediterranean and many of Rome’s allies and clients would defect if they believed that Rome could be defeated.  But he was wrong that his army, even with aid from Italian city-states, could provide the security and prosperity that could build a lasting alternative to Roman control. He could win victory after victory yet never win the war.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #62 on: March 22, 2011, 10:34:53 »
Part 3:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/03/21/strategic-lessons-from-hannibals-war/

Quote
The next writer in our course, Machiavelli, lived at another time when the geographical center of world political and military power was in flux.  The discoveries of Columbus, and the trade routes established around the Cape of Good Hope to Asia and across the Atlantic to the Americas, turned the Mediterranean world from the center of European culture and trade — and the major theater of war — into a sideshow.  The economies of its rich city states and empires — Venice, Genoa, Florence, the Ottoman Empire and even Spain — fell into decline.  Italy became the plaything of foreign powers, like ancient Greece in the centuries after Alexander.

Machiavelli was haunted by the contrast between old Roman times when Italy was united  and his own day when foreign armies ranged freely and murderously up and down the peninsula.  A united Italy was once able to command the destinies of the world; in Machiavelli’s time Italy could not muster the forces required to unite.

Once again today we are living through a geographical shift in the world’s center of gravity.  This time the shift is from Europe and the Atlantic toward Asia and the Pacific.  The great European powers whose exploits ring down the centuries of modern history are now secondary powers — as Athens and Sparta were at the time of Hannibal, and as Florence and Venice were in the time of Machiavelli.

The question Americans naturally ask is what does that mean for us?  Are we also sinking toward relative insignificance?

My own guess is that we aren’t.  Just as the westward shift of the Mediterranean world benefited Italy at the time of the Punic Wars, the shift to the Pacific may benefit the United States.  Our position in the western hemisphere — despite the rise of Brazil — remains very much like Rome’s position in Italy.  The decline of the European powers means that no future US president will face the problems Franklin Roosevelt did, when the US was simultaneously menaced by hostile great powers in Europe and Asia.  Even Russia is no longer capable of mounting a serious challenge to America’s alliances in Europe.

Meanwhile in Asia, any potential challenger to the American world position must worry about an unquiet back yard.  Neither India nor China wants its rival to emerge as the only great power in Asia; Japan, Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia also want the balance kept.  The United States, free from nagging concerns about great power challenges in Europe, has a relatively free hand in the Pacific.

None of this guarantees either global stability or American pre-eminence in the twenty-first century.  But it suggests that the tides of history may still be flowing in our favor, and that America will not soon be moving to a retirement community for former great powers.

Join the discussion over at StratBlog.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #63 on: March 22, 2011, 11:11:20 »
Slightly off topic, perhaps, but following Mead's idea about worthless allies, I belive (and have since I damned near failed university for proposing the idea over 40 years ago) that the biggest single blunder in the entire history of British foreign policy (including the clan Godwin 'cheating' William of Normandy) was the Entente Cordiale which achieved France's immediate policy objective (it gave it an ally) but probably was one of the root causes of the most unnecessary and costly war the British ever fought.

France proved to be a poor, even costly ally for the British. Britain's natural ally, if it really needed one - which I believe it did not - was Germany. In fact, and Anglo-german alliance would have, also, been in France's best interests as the Germans would, most likely, have been constrained, by their Anglo-Saxon ally, from beating the French yet again.

I blame the Irish!
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Really, I do: Britain was wholly preoccupied with the question of Irish independence - so occupied that too few sound minds were put to the task of making and protecting British foreign policy. Parenthetically, the issues (World War I and Irish governance) also destroyed the British Liberal Party, but that's another issue.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #64 on: April 07, 2011, 09:12:13 »
Any External "Grand Strategy" is ultimately driven by domestic considerations, and those in turn by the underlying culture of the civilization and society in question. Here is a foretaste of the debates that will take place in the United States (and by extension throughout Western Civilization) as the "Welfare State" model falters and dies. What will replace the Welfare State, and how will that occur?

http://pajamasmedia.com/ronradosh/2011/04/06/the-end-of-the-social-democratic-model-will-the-left-respond-by-accepting-reality/?print=1

Quote
The End of the Social-Democratic Model: Will the Left Respond by Accepting Reality?

Posted By Ron Radosh On April 6, 2011 @ 10:22 am In Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Yesterday, the only adult among a group of congressional kindergartners, Rep. Paul Ryan, released his budget proposal [1] for the future. The Democratic establishment immediately responded with the kind of knee-jerk all-out attacks we have come to expect from them. Rep. Nancy Pelosi tweeted [2]: “The #GOP Ryan budget is a path to poverty for America’s seniors & children and a road to riches for big oil #GOPvalues.”  Not wanting to be outdone, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, said [3]: “It is not courageous to protect tax breaks for millionaires, oil companies and other big-money special interests while slashing our investment in education, ending the current health care guarantees for seniors on Medicare, and denying health care coverage to tens of millions of Americans.”

It is the usual reactionary Democratic talking points, all meant to scare seniors, make the public believe their access to health care will come to an end, and create a scenario for huge tax increases to make up the deficit.

That is why I almost fell off my chair when I read the very liberal Jacob Weisberg, editor of the Slate Group, respond with a thoughtful article [4] titled “Good Plan!” which states in the heading subtitle that Ryan’s budget proposal is “brave, radical and smart.” I can just see Slate’s readers scratching their heads and asking themselves what has happened to Weisberg. They must have thought for a brief moment that they had logged on to PJM or National Review Online by mistake.

Weisberg understands that there is a genuine problem, and that both Republicans and Democrats have, as he puts it, been lax in confronting “the nation’s long-term fiscal imbalance, which is driven by the projected growth in entitlement spending.” Weisberg goes on to write that “this dynamic of political evasion and reality-denial may have undergone a fundamental shift today with the release of Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget resolution.”  Hoping that Republicans will get behind it, Weisberg writes that if they do, the Republican Party “will become for the first time in modern memory an intellectually serious party — one with a coherent vision to match its rhetoric of limited government.”

Weisberg even argues that liberals, rather than respond in the fashion that they have already begun to, consider whether some of Ryan’s proposals might serve them, as well as the country. He doesn’t even reject Ryan’s proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher plan, and writes that “it’s hard to make a principled liberal case for the program in its current form.” And he adds that “Ryan’s alternative to Medicare hardly seems as terrible as Paul Krugman makes out.” The Ryan plan, he notes, is not one that spells an end to the social safety net. He writes:

    Eventually, cost control would require some tough decisions about end-of-life care and the rationing of high-tech treatments that have limited efficacy. But starting with a value of $15,000 per year, per senior—the amount government now spends on Medicare—Ryan’s vouchers should provide excellent coverage. His change would amount to a minor amendment to the social contract, not a fundamental revision of it.

Pointing out that Ryan’s proposal would provide “excellent coverage” for seniors is exactly the opposite of the scare tactics all other Democrats are engaging in. Failure to follow Ryan’s lead, he warns, could create a “debt-driven economic crisis” that would “cast a pall over the country’s entire future.” For a moment, Weisberg sounds like — Glenn Beck!

Of course, Weisberg is still a liberal, who favors modest tax increases, and he has some criticism of the Ryan plan. Ryan, he argues, “skirts the question of which deductions and tax subsidies he’d eliminate to pay for these lower [tax] rates.” But he concludes that “more than anyone else in politics, Rep. Ryan has made a serious attempt to grapple with the long-term fiscal issues the country faces.” So I give kudos to Weisberg. He has dared to go against the liberal grain, and has congratulated Ryan for having a “largely coherent, workable set of answers.”

All of this leads me to highly recommend one of the most important essays [5] written in many a year, by Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs. Levin’s article is the perfect companion piece to both Weisberg’s comments as well as Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. Levin has written a very long philosophical piece that carefully delineates and critiques the liberal world-view, and that reveals the difference between how conservatives and liberals perceive the world around them.  His point is stated right at the beginning:

    But these [regulatory agencies and the massive entitlement system] are mostly symptoms of our mounting unease. The most significant cause runs deeper. We have the feeling that profound and unsettling change is afoot because the vision that has dominated our political imagination for a century — the vision of the social-democratic welfare state — is drained and growing bankrupt, and it is not yet clear just what will take its place.

Levin continues to throw out his bold challenge to those who still believe in the social-democratic ideal, people such as the late Tony Judt, whose last book [6] before his death  was an impassioned defense of that very ideal.  That ideal has had great staying power. Yuval Levin writes:

    That vision was an answer to a question America must still confront: How shall we balance the competing aspirations of our society — aspirations to both  wealth and virtue, dynamism and compassion? How can we fulfill our simultaneous desires to race ahead yet leave no one behind? The answer offered by the social-democratic ideal was a technocratic welfare state that would balance these aspirations through all-encompassing programs of social insurance. We would retain a private economy, but it would be carefully managed in order to curb its ill effects, and a large portion of its output would be used by the government to address large social problems, lessen inequality, and thus also build greater social solidarity.

    Of course, this vision has never been implemented in full. But it has offered a model, for good and for ill. For the left, it provided long-term goals, criteria for distinguishing progress from retreat in making short-term compromises, and a kind of definition of the just society. For the right, it was a foil to be combated and averted — an archetype of soulless, stifling bureaucratic hubris — and it helped put objections to seemingly modest individual leftward steps into a broader, more coherent context. But both ends of our politics seemed implicitly to agree that, left to its own momentum, this is where our country was headed — where history would take us if no one stood athwart it yelling stop.

Levin’s article is of importance because we need more than the kind of proposal that Rep. Ryan is putting forth. We need, in addition, a head-on challenge to the ideological hegemony of social-democratic, socialist, and Marxist views that so many of our intellectual class stand by.  Those who will read Levin’s article knows that he does just that, and indeed acknowledges that in past years that vision had legs because it took root, not during an age of decline for America, but during the years of the economy’s expansion and a rise in the standard of living. Social-democratic activism coincided with the years of the New Deal, Fair Deal, and early Great Society. The problem is that as reality flew in the face of the assumptions behind the policies of those years, few were ready to dispense with the ideology. The result is the current entitlement system, in which, as Levin writes, “age-based wealth transfers in an aging society are obviously problematic.”

So it is up to us to change course. To do that, we must have the kind of intellectual ammunition given to us by writers such as Yuval Levin. He understands that means developing serious answers to the questions that made the social-democratic ideal seem a good one. Levin knows that to develop that, conservatives cannot be made to appear to be enemies of those who need a social safety net, and who believe in making America’s wealth accessible to all in our society. He writes that it is not enough to yell “stop!” What has to be done is focus on the purposes of government itself, helping to show where it must go.

In our current age, Levin stresses as well that we need a change in nomenclature, as Roger L. Simon has argued in these very PJM pages. We must point out that liberals and most Democrats are “the reactionary party” that has its “head in the sand and its mind adrift in false nostalgia,” and is content with minor tinkering at the edges of our welfare state. Conservatives must do more than fight old enemies; they must do more than simply repeat that we have too much government.  What they must do is develop real alternatives that the public can grasp and adopt, and to work so that others, not just the wealthy, gain access to capitalism’s benefits. To me, he makes the point well in this key sentence: “It would seek to help the poor not with an empty promise of material equality but with a fervent commitment to upward mobility.”

Most social-democratic programs and arguments, as we know, seek mechanisms they believe will promote material equality, such as a continuing increase of the minimum wage. They do not realize that such policies make things worse for the poor, force businesses to higher fewer people, and in states which had followed suit, force them to shut down or leave for other states that have not mandated such foolish social policies. So, I heartily endorse Levin’s call for a new “policy-oriented conservatism,”  whose proponents will work to achieve its ends gradually, through both persuasion and proof, and in accord with the ways in which conservatives know that change can take place.

America, Yuval Levin warns, cannot be allowed to fail along with the social-democratic model. So read his article and pass it on. What he offers is precisely the kind of medicine we have long been in need of. We ignore his arguments at our own peril.

Article printed from Ron Radosh: http://pajamasmedia.com/ronradosh

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/ronradosh/2011/04/06/the-end-of-the-social-democratic-model-will-the-left-respond-by-accepting-reality/

URLs in this post:

[1] proposal: http://www.politico.com/static/PPM170_1100405_plantoprosperity.html

[2] tweeted: http://www.habledash.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1142-paul-ryans-budget-proposal-gets-immediate-criticism-from-nancy-pelosi&catid=47&Itemid=65&joscclean=1&comment_id=1574

[3] said: http://www.captainsjournal.com/2011/04/04/democrat-response-to-rep-ryan-spending-cuts-burn-the-witches/

[4] article: http://www.slate.com/id/2290509/

[5] essays: http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/beyond-the-welfare-state

[6] book: http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Fares-Land-Tony-Judt/dp/0143118765/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1302108679&
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #65 on: June 04, 2011, 23:13:51 »
Paul Ryan:

http://www.ricochet.com/main-feed/Paul-Ryan-s-Strategic-Vision

Quote
Paul Ryan’s Strategic Vision

On Thursday evening at the St. Regis Hotel three blocks from the White House. Paul Ryan was the featured speaker at a meeting of the Alexander Hamilton Society. I think it telling that his subject was not the fiscal crisis besetting our country. It was, as Michael Warren makes clear in a detailed report on the website of The Weekly Standard, the conduct of American foreign policy. If you have even a passing interest in the current Presidential race, you should read Warren’s report in its entirety. In it, he reprints Ryan’s every word. Here is how the Congressman began:

    Some of you might be wondering why the House Budget Committee chairman is standing here addressing a room full of national security experts about American foreign policy. What can I tell you that you don’t already know?

    The short answer is, not much. But if there’s one thing I could say with complete confidence about American foreign policy, it is this: Our fiscal policy and our foreign policy are on a collision course; and if we fail to put our budget on a sustainable path, then we are choosing decline as a world power.

Ryan’s main point was that decline is not inevitable. It is a choice – a choice that we can make, a choice that we can resolutely refuse.

    If we continue on our current path, the rapid rise of health care costs will crowd out all areas of the budget, including defense.

    This course is simply unsustainable. If we continue down our current path, then a debt-fueled economic crisis is not a probability. It is a mathematical certainty.

    Some hear these facts and conclude that the sun is setting on America… that our problems are bigger than we are… that our competitors will soon outrun us… and that the choice we face is over how, not whether, to manage our nation’s decline.

    It’s inevitable, they seem to say, so let’s just get on with it. I’m reminded of that Woody Allen line: “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

In his speech, Ryan considered the consequences of making the wrong choice in this regard. It is, he insisted, a matter of paramount importance.

    In The Weary Titan, Aaron Friedberg − one of the founders of the Hamilton Society − has shown us what happened when Britain made the wrong choice at the turn of the 20th century.

    At that time, Britain’s governing class took the view that it would be better to cede leadership of the Western world to the United States. Unfortunately, the United States was not yet ready to assume the burden of leadership. The result was 40 years of Great Power rivalry and two World Wars.

    The stakes are even higher today. Unlike Britain, which handed leadership to a power that shared its fundamental values, today’s most dynamic and growing powers do not embrace the basic principles that should be at the core of the international system.

    A world without U.S. leadership will be a more chaotic place, a place where we have less influence, and a place where our citizens face more dangers and fewer opportunities. Take a moment and imagine a world led by China or by Russia.

    Choosing decline would have consequences that I doubt many Americans would be comfortable with.

Ryan is persuaded that “we must lead,” and he is also convinced that “a central element of maintaining American leadership is the promotion of our moral principles – consistently and energetically.” We must, however, he continues, not be “unrealistic about what is possible for us to achieve.”

    America is an idea. And it was the first nation founded as such. The idea is rather simple. Our rights come to us from God and nature. They occur naturally, before government. The Declaration of Independence says it best: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    There are very good people who are uncomfortable with the idea that America is an “exceptional” nation. But it happens that America was the first in the world to make the universal principle of human freedom into a “credo,” a commitment to all mankind, and it has been our honor to be freedom’s beacon for millions around the world.

    America’s “exceptionalism” is just this – while most nations at most times have claimed their own history or culture to be exclusive, America’s foundations are not our own – they belong equally to every person everywhere. The truth that all human beings are created equal in their natural rights is the most “inclusive” social truth ever discovered as a foundation for a free society. “All” means “all”! You can’t get more “inclusive” than that!

    Now, if you believe these rights are universal human rights, then that clearly forms the basis of your views on foreign policy. It leads you to reject moral relativism. It causes you to recoil at the idea of persistent moral indifference toward any nation that stifles and denies liberty, no matter how friendly and accommodating its rulers are to American interests.

The real question, of course, is the practical one: “What do we do when our principles are in conflict with our interests? How do we resolve the tension between morality and reality?” And here is Ryan’s answer:

    According to some, we will never be able to resolve this tension, and we must occasionally suspend our principles in pursuit of our interests. I don’t see it that way. We have to be consistent and clear in the promotion of our principles, while recognizing that different situations will require different tools for achieving that end.

    An expanding community of nations that shares our economic values as well as our political values would ensure a more prosperous world … a world with more opportunity for mutually beneficial trade … and a world with fewer economic disruptions caused by violent conflict.

Here, too, Ryan urges prudence and caution. “In promoting our principles,” he argues, “American policy should be tempered by a healthy humility about the extent of our power to control events in other regions.” Then, he turns to Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran, Afghanistan, and China – where you can see a bit more clearly what he has in mind when he speaks of limits and where you can also see just how much care he has given to considering our strategic situation.

Read Warren’s report. Run it off, and read it again. I think that, if you do, you will see why I think it right that this country do something almost unthinkable that it has not done in more than a century: elevate a mere Congressman to the Presidency.

There are many reasons why we need to get our fiscal house in order. Perhaps in the long run the most important is that, if we do not, we as a people will lose the hard-won capacity to shape the strategic environment within which we, as individuals, live our daily lives. The political liberty we treasure depends upon our independence -- and ultimately that cannot be sustained if ours is an entitlements state.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #66 on: October 14, 2011, 21:48:39 »
Long article with many interesting points to consider. A Part II is promised for next month:

http://www.baen.com/beatingdecline1.asp

Quote
BEATING DECLINE: Miltech and the Survival of the U.S. (section one of three)

by J.R. Dunn

Part I

Dangerous times await the United States in the international arena. We are facing a period of relative decline in respect to other nations and the global community as a whole. Many are aggressive states with little reason to be friendly to us or to defer to our interests. Our status as leading nation will be challenged, imperiled, and disregarded. This circumstance is locked in and we cannot avoid it. Debt, inflation, overextension, and defense cuts, not to mention a strange national diffidence toward acting as world leader, guarantee this state of affairs.

On the occasion of his retirement in June, defense secretary Robert Gates warned against further defense cuts. “Frankly,” he was quoted as saying, ”I can’t imagine being part of a nation, part of a government … that’s being forced to dramatically scale back our engagement with the rest of the world.” Extraordinary words from a man who initiated more cuts than any previous secretary: over 30 programs, including the F-22 Raptor, the Army's Future Combat System, and the AF-1 airborne laser. In other words, some of the programs most crucial to maintaining American military capability in the 21st century.

Even as Gates made his departure, the Obama administration was ordering cuts of $400 billion over a period of twelve years. Leading liberal politicians such as Rep. Barney Frank have gone even further, calling for up to $1 trillion in cuts. And this is not to overlook the recent debt ceiling deal, in which automatic cuts to defense, amounting to $500 billion over and above the amounts already mentioned, will occur if a formal bipartisan budget agreement is not achieved.

At risk is the USAF’s B-3 bomber, the Navy's CG(X) cruiser and EPX intelligence plane, the Marine’s Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle, and the Navy’s new TAOX tanker and the next generation ballistic missile submarine. Talk has also been heard of cutting Army battalions, reducing the number of fleet aircraft carriers, basing fleet units in the continental U.S. rather than at forward bases, dismantling most of our nuclear arsenal, and axing that perennial target, abandoning U.S. Marine Corps aviation.

The reasons for this impasse, while interesting in themselves, do not really concern us as much as the simple reality of what we face. It’s in the cards and we will have to deal with it. How do we go about doing that?

Other dominant states have undergone the same ordeal. The United Kingdom and the Soviet Union can serve as examples. Following its magnificent WW II stand against fascism, the UK suffered a lengthy period of political decline in which its global empire, one of the best-ordered and in many ways admirable of all imperial systems, was stripped away in less than twenty years. The Soviet Union, a much less admirable state, suffered an explosive collapse in the early 1990s following its failure to implement socialism on a national scale while simultaneously challenging the West in the Cold War. Both nations benefited from the existence of an even more powerful national entity that ensured global stability while they adapted to their new status—the United States itself. Countries that might have contemplated taking advantage of the suddenly weakened superstates were held off by the American presence, allowing the UK and USSR to make their transition in relative security. (Only one nation attempted to throw the dice—Argentina in the 1983 Falklands conflict A shrunken Royal Navy succeeded in straightening out the Argentines with assistance from the U.S.)


No guarantor of international stability exists today. The United States will go through its period of readjustment very much on its own. As for challenges from lawless and predatory powers, the question is not if but when. What is in store for us is not conquest, not humiliation, not even necessarily defeat, but a slow erosion of influence and power that will limit our ability to meet crises and make our national will felt. We are already experiencing that erosion, and it will continue for some time to come.

Emerging Threats

Expansionist states on the cusp of becoming major regional powers will wish to exercise their newfound capabilities. Most see the U.S. as an obstacle. There can be little doubt that each of them views America’s current difficulties as a clear opportunity.

   China—Looks forward to taking back the rogue “province” of Taiwan while at the same time extending its control over the Western Pacific. An internal faction of unknown size and influence involving senior officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would not at all mind giving the U.S. a black eye in the process.
   
   Iran—Wishes to gain control over the Persian Gulf and the surrounding states in hopes of establishing something on the order of a Shi’ite caliphate. Its current nuclear weapons program is troubled (it suffered a serious setback as the target of the first tailored cyberweapon), but continuing. Further concern arises over extensive governmental influence from a Shi’ite apocalyptic cult comprised of believers in the imminent return of an Islamic messiah, the Twelfth Imam.

   North Korea—After nearly seventy years, still the personal domain of the world’s sole communist dynasty. Unstable and run by a family of doubtful sanity, North Korea is a perpetual irritant. With its arsenal of crude atomic weapons, it is in the peculiar position of being too weak to fully assert itself yet too well-armed to be ignored. Eventually this conundrum will be resolved through some kind of action.

   Russia—Interested in reestablishing military dominance over Eurasia while also clawing back a few strayed remnants of the old USSR. Important sections of the military and security organs are subject to feelings of anti-American revanchism over the results of the Cold War.

   Venezuela—Has eagerly adapted the mantle of spearhead of Latin Marxism from Cuba, with some success among neighboring states. Has also established close military ties with China and Iran, which include agreements for basing rights and emplacement of advanced strategic weapons systems.

   Pakistan—About to explode thanks to an evil synergy involving a totally corrupt military, an effectively unrestrained Islamist element, and seething ethnic rivalries. The problem lies in its possession of up to 110 nuclear weapons. (Nearly as many as the UK.) 1

   There also exist wild cards—threats that while perhaps unlikely, are within the realm of possibility.
   
   Europe—Union has not proven as easy or as popular as anticipated. It has long been pointed out that the EU has all the trappings of a neofascist state without the controlling ideology. That could change, and not necessarily for the better. Consider the UK or Ireland attempting to secede from the EU under such circumstances. The technical name for this is “civil war.” (Interestingly, one of the few novels to deal with the concept of European union, Angus Wilson’s satirical SF novel The Old Men at the Zoo, climaxes with exactly such a scenario.)
   
   Mexico—A potential government takeover by one of the cartels, or alternately a front politician under their control, would turn our southern border into even more of a war zone than it is already. We have been ignoring the Mexican drug war for several years now. We may not have this luxury for much longer.

   A Revived United Arab Republic—The “Arab Spring” has not turned out to be as happy an event as many of us hoped. The most powerful political group in the Arab states is the Muslim Brotherhood, a secret society with fascist antecedents considered to be the grandfather of all Islamic terrorist and Jihadi organizations. Any or all of the “liberated” Arab nations could fall prey to this outfit. (It appears that Egypt is doing so now.) The ramifications will be nothing but ugly.

   And let’s not forget the jihadis while we’re at it. That’s a fifty-year war and we are only one-fifth of the way through it.

Beyond these, we have the “unknown unknowns”—potential threats that we simply cannot foresee. An informed European of 1910 would never have guessed at fascism, Nazism, or communism, which dominated much of the 20th century and came close to destroying Europe. What awaits us in the next half-century is anybody’s guess. (How about a combination of the Singularity and neofascism?) Keeping in mind the words of a great statesman (Calvin Coolidge): “If you see ten troubles comin’ down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into a ditch before they get to you,” one or more of these will confront the U.S. while we are at the same time repairing the ravages of recent excesses, maintaining our standing in the international community, and fulfilling our obligations to our allies and treaty partners. There have been easier periods for this country.

We are no longer a hyperpower, and the status of superpower is slipping from our grasp. Within a decade, the U.S. will be merely one great power among a rising cohort of powers. We no longer possess the forces that defeated the Soviet Union, twice humiliated the armies of Saddam Hussein, and that for decades have guaranteed peaceful commerce across the oceans of the world. While much can be accomplished through diplomacy and alliances with other powers, situations will arise in which military force is the sole option. We must find alternatives to the vast resources that are no longer available to us.

We will not, for the foreseeable future, have access to the traditional American method of spending more money to buy more guns than anyone else on earth can afford. What does that leave us? With yet another traditional American method, one that used to be called “Yankee ingenuity”: using technology to solve problems that cannot be addressed in any other way.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #67 on: October 14, 2011, 21:51:03 »
Section 2 of 3:

http://www.baen.com/beatingdecline1.asp

Quote
The RMA and the American Dilemma

The Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA)2 is the formal name for changes in warfare brought about by technological innovation in the post-Vietnam period. Originally a Soviet concept, the RMA involves advances in such fields as computers, sensor technology, guidance systems, and communications which together hold the potential to increase the destructive capabilities of weaponry by an order of magnitude. Examples include precision-guided munitions (PGMs), stealth aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Considerable debate has occurred concerning the RMA’s effect on operations, strategy, tactics, and doctrine.


The RMA fell into disrepute after defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld utilized it as the basis of his “transformational” doctrine for the U.S. military. It was the source of the infamous “light footprint,” in which small, technologically advanced forces would destroy much larger conventional armies, requireing reduced outlay in time, resources, and finances. Rumsfeld was not completely mistaken—the forces that defeated Saddam Hussein in 2003 were much smaller than those dispatched to the Gulf in 1990. Technology made up the difference. What Rumsfeld overlooked was the fact that occupation and combat are two different things. Occupation requires large numbers of boots on the ground to assure security, control, and a smooth transition of power. The failure to meet those requirements in the wake of the Second Gulf War resulted in a lengthy guerilla conflict which sapped American resolve and nearly cost us the victory.

Over the past few years, military thinkers have begun to acknowledge that the RMA, far from being discredited, will continue to influence military affairs for the foreseeable future. Technology remains a major driver of military innovation and despite everything the United States remains the forerunner in technology. A 2008 RAND study, “U.S. Competitiveness in Science and Technology”3 found that the U.S. spends 40 percent of the world’s budget for research, produces 38 percent of new patents, and 63 percent of cited research papers. We also lead in application. The U.S. is the sole nation to have fielded a fleet of stealth fighters and bombers, the sole nation to have made the transition to combat drones, the first adaptor of battlefield robotics, and is very likely the first nation (along with its junior partner Israel) to have created and utilized a cyberwarhead. Technology will enable the United States to endure the challenges to come, and to put the fear of Uncle Sam anew into the world’s bandits, fanatics, and would-be Napoleons.

Maritime Power

Naval power is the most important aspect of American military strength. The seapower thesis of Alfred Thayer Mahan4— that the United States comprises a “continental island” closer in nature to maritime states such as Japan and the UK than to the continental powers of Eurasia—has proven far more durable than most 19th-century geopolitical theories.

Since the destruction of the Japanese Imperial Fleet in 1944, the U.S. Navy has had no serious rival for control of the seas. For a short period in the 1980s the development of a Soviet blue-water navy caused some worries, but those ended along with the USSR. It is no coincidence that international trade based on maritime shipping underwent a boom during the postwar period. Security provided by U.S. naval dominance of the world’s oceans was a major factor in economic globalization. The vast amounts spent on America’s fleets have repaid themselves many times over.

In the early 21st century, U.S. maritime power faces its first major challenge in nearly seventy years. The fleet is steadily shrinking. In August 2011 it stood at 284 ships, less than half the 575 in commission twenty years ago. At the same time, several foreign fleets are in the process of establishing themselves as serious competitors. The Indian Navy is friendly. The Chinese and Iranian navies, not so much. In addition, piracy has undergone a dramatic rebirth, in Somalia in particular but also in areas such as the Indonesian archipelago. The 21st century sailor will have his hands full.

The Navy’s plan to meet these challenges is embodied in a doctrine called “AirSea Battle.” While little is known about this new strategy, it can be assumed to be a maritime version of AirLand Battle, the U.S. Army’s extremely effective late 20th century ground-combat strategy. AirLand Battle was based on the theories of the eccentric but brilliant USAF officer Col. John Boyd5, who spent a lifetime attempting to create a universal theory of warfare. AirLand Battle is a complex strategy of maneuver utilizing Boyd’s “decision cycle” (also known as the “OODA Cycle”)6, in which actions carried out at an accelerated pace deny the enemy any opportunity to respond. Large-scale disruptive aerial attacks are followed with swift flank attacks by mechanized units, assaulting not fixed geographic targets such as cities or bases, or even distinct military formations, but any enemy force within reach. The goal is to confuse and disrupt the enemy until utter collapse ensues. AirLand Battle is a strategy by which small, outnumbered forces can defeat much larger opponents through speed, maneuver, and initiative.

AirLand Battle never saw action against the Warsaw Pact, its original target, but found its moment in the two campaigns against the Iraqi Army. These were virtual textbook operations, with the U.S.-led Coalition dominating the battlespace from the start and swiftly subduing the Iraqis with very few direct engagements.

AirSea Battle7 is a combined-services strategy in which the USAF and Navy will act as a single offensive force. Working from the AirLand Battle template, we can assume that USAF long-range air assets will strike first, disrupting and demoralizing enemy maritime forces. They will be followed by naval air, surface, and submarine elements, striking with PGMs, cruise missiles, and long-range torpedoes. If carried out with the same ferocity as AirLand Battle, this strategy would climax with surviving enemy units fleeing the battlespace, leaving it dominated by U.S. naval forces.

Two major questions arise: can such a strategy be carried out by a steadily shrinking Navy? And can a strategy so dependent on the ever more vulnerable aircraft carrier remain viable into the 21st century?

Fleet carriers are among the most impressive warships ever to take to sea. But all things move toward their end, and carriers of the Nimitz and Ford class may have seen their day. The Chinese, the most serious maritime challenge facing our Navy, are doing their best to make the carrier obsolete. China considers the South China Sea as its territory, going so far as to refer to it as “blue soil,” an inherent part of the Chinese heritage. It has laid claim to the Spratleys, the Paracels, and other small island chains in defiance of Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines. It has never given up its claim to Taiwan. It has suggested that other states—specifically the U.S.—abandon all interest in the area, in clear disregard of current treaties and the traditional law of the sea. (The U.S. is responding by sending its first three operational Littoral Combat Ships8 into the South China Sea. This is a carefully calibrated riposte: while not strategic assets, these shallow-water vessels—which the media have taken to calling “stealth ships”—are capable of a variety of missions including shore assault, reconnaissance and surveillance, special warfare, and deep-water combat. The message is easily read: we’re ready for anything.)

Whatever Chinese plans may be, one element that can upset them is the aircraft carrier. Each possesses the combat power of a medium-sized nation, unmatched versatility, and the moral force of a weapon that has never been adequately countered. The Chinese have worried about them for a long time, and have put a lot of work into countermeasures. These include:

   Cruise Missiles—Entire families of sea-launched cruise missiles are deployed on both surface ships—including fast patrol craft—and submarines.
   
   Song Class Diesel Submarines, —quite capable and very difficult to detect9. In 2006, a Song-class sub surfaced without warning only a short distance from the USS Kitty Hawk.

   The J-20 Stealth Fighter——from its size clearly not an air-superiority aircraft, but most likely intended as a strike aircraft10. It would be surprising if it wasn’t used against carriers.

   
   The DF-21D Ballistic Missile—over the past year, a new version of the DF-21 MRBM with anti-ship capabilities has been fielded11. The Chinese can deploy hundreds of these missiles in a short time frame.
   
   Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons (EMP)—China has apparently modified a number of nuclear warheads to trigger a high-altitude EMP pulse capable of damaging or destroying nearby electronic equipment12. While some are intended for use against Taiwan, others may target aircraft carriers. The code names of these weapons are “Assassin’s Mace” for older warheads and “Trump Card” for warheads using newer technology. (This is a good opportunity to kill the “EMP as national threat” myth. There’s been a lot of rhetoric expended claiming that the pulse from a single nuclear warhead set off 200 miles above the U.S. could fry all electronics gear across the country and plunge us into a new dark age. Well maybe, under perfect laboratory conditions, but even that’s doubtful. As a physicist pointed out to me, for this to work, you need to have more energy coming out than the original explosion put in. A little thing called the First Law of Thermodynamics forbids this.)

It would be a difficult trick to carry out a warfighting strategy with one of its central elements at the bottom of the briny deep. Potential defenses exist, chief among them directed-energy weapons. High-energy lasers would defeat most anti-ship threats, in particular missiles of all varieties. Unfortunately, the free-electron laser (FEL), the most well-adapted for naval use (FELs are tunable and can be fired at the best wavelengths to cut through sea haze, salt spray, fog, and other maritime commonplaces), was canceled by Congress last June13. (The Navy’s primary new offensive weapon, the electromagnetic railgun, was canceled at the same time.) Nothing less than such a universal defense will do. The Kamikaze campaign of 1945 clearly demonstrated how difficult it is to defend ships from determined attack. It won’t require the loss of very many $15 billion carriers along with their air wings to drive the U.S. out of the South China Sea or the Persian Gulf more or less permanently.

While the Chinese launched their first carrier—formerly the Ukrainian Varyag—this past summer, and are constructing at least two domestic carriers, they possess no support craft or escorts to sail with them. They’re unlikely to play a major role in the time-span we’re considering here.

But the fleet carrier is by no means the ultimate evolution of the aircraft carrier. The Navy has already studied the feasibility of smaller carriers14. In fact, future carriers may not resemble our current models, with their vast and crowded flight decks, in any fashion at all.

The key to this development is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle—the combat drone. The Navy came late to the drone revolution, but in recent years has gone all out to catch up. Last February marked the debut of the Northrop Grumman X-47B, a drone designed to take off and land on a carrier15. The Navy wants drones operating with carrier forces by 2018. Subsequent development of drones is likely to transform the carrier itself. There is no reason why drones need to operate exactly like manned aircraft, requiring a flight deck, arrestor gear, and the entire panoply of traditional naval aviation. Properly designed drones could be launched from any type of surface ship, or, for that matter, from submarines running underwater. It’s possible to foresee a time when every naval vessel, including support ships, operates a unit of drones, from a dozen aboard a support vessel such as a tanker to fifty or more aboard a guided missile cruiser.


Such drones would be very different birds from today’s pioneer models—nearly autonomous, cheap, and far more capable. They could well be expendable, with no recovery necessary. (The USAF has already fielded such a design, the MALD. See below.) It’s possible that they wouldn’t even be armed, instead destroying their targets by kinetic kill. Consider a swarm of hundreds of small, fast, maneuverable drones suddenly appearing out of nowhere, with no obvious source (and target) like a conventional aircraft carrier in sight. Such a capability would complicate enemy strategy immeasurably. It would also go a long way toward lowering the cost of a fleet and increasing the number of available combat vessels.

The drone revolution is by no means limited to aerial platforms. Application of drone technology to both surface and submersible craft is in process. Former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead initiated development of a long-range UUV (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle), a robot submarine capable of operating independently for long periods on missions covering thousands of miles16. Roughead envisioned a basic guidance system and power plant module that can be reconfigured with weapon and sensor suites tailored for each particular mission. Such UUVs would patrol independently, report in by satellite linkage, and return to port on their own. Smaller versions could act as drone torpedoes, maintaining station on a semi-permanent basis and launching themselves at enemy shipping when the war signal arrives.

Necessary technology such as advanced AI algorithms and compact power plants remains enticingly out of reach. But less complex versions of such UUVs could very likely be launched today. These drones could accompany a fleet, acting as a first line of defense against enemy subs, be monitored constantly and rendezvous with surface vessels for maintenance and refueling. Such drones would be relatively cheap and expendable where manned submarines would not be.

Preliminary work has also been done on surface drones by the Navy in cooperation with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), the DoD’s in-house research department, particularly involving an unmanned frigate, the Anti-submarine warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV)17. An ACTUV could patrol vast areas of ocean for months with no human input. On encountering a sub, it would notify its naval HQ, and perhaps also latch onto the sub’s signal and follow it wherever it went, rendering the crew’s life incredibly nerve-wracking. One interesting development involves the Navy’s creation of an online game, ACTUV Tactics, where outside players compete as ACTUV’s or sub skippers, in order to work out the best tactics to encode as operational algorithms18. (What’s that you say? Potential enemy sub skippers can log on too, and learn all the tricks? I guess nothing’s perfect.)

Another weapon overdue for technological enhancement is the sea mine, an often underrated asset. During the last months of WW II, mines dropped from USAAF B-29 Superfortresses into the Inland Sea and coastal areas brought Japanese maritime activity to a standstill, completely isolating the Home Islands.

The 21st century mine will be a far cry from the anchored “dumb” mines of WW II. They will have limited autonomous capability, be able to detect and target individual ships, avoid minesweepers, and maneuver into optimal attack positions. Several warheads could be fitted with programmable fuses to suit the targets. Networks of these mines would communicate and coordinate their attacks. Enemy fleets and merchant marine vessels might well be locked into their ports, unable to emerge for fear of hordes of “smart mines.” When hostilities end, the mines would be signaled to surface and wait for pickup.

A picture of the fleet to come begins to take form, surrounded by a cloud of undetectable drones, preceded by a shield of small unmanned submarines, with robot frigates patrolling the fringes, and the manned ships on the center. Small in numbers, and nowhere near as impressive as a Nimitz-class carrier and its escorts, but with a potential combat power orders of magnitude greater than any current fleet. Stealthed, laser and railgun armed (we can assume that these programs are on “zombie” status, with current work carefully preserved and waiting for funding), integrated into satellite weather, detection, and communication systems, capable of tracking targets at the other side of the ocean and engaging them at half that distance. Such a fleet would possess capabilities unknown up to this point in time, and perhaps unguessable even today.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #68 on: October 14, 2011, 21:52:42 »
Section 3:

http://www.baen.com/beatingdecline1.asp

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Maintaining Air Superiority

For several decades, the U.S. Air Force has carried the banner of military technological innovation. Working with DARPA, the “Pentagon’s mad scientists,” the USAF has been responsible for the most spectacular and effective technological breakthroughs of recent years, including stealth aircraft and the combat drone. Can this partnership prevail into the 21st century?

Since WW II, the U.S. has possessed effective air superiority over other combatants. Except for short periods over Korea in 1950-51 and Vietnam in 1966-67, American superiority was so overwhelming that at times opponents didn’t even dare challenge it. During the First Gulf War (1991), Iraqi Air Force units defected en masse to Iran to avoid destruction by Coalition air assets. After the Hussein regime was overthrown in 2003, pathetic little monuments were found in the desert where Iraqi MiGs had been buried in sand to protect them.

Technology was the leading reason for American superiority in the air. Following the Korean War, John Boyd discovered that the USAF had gained ascendancy over Communist air forces when the F-86E Sabre was introduced to combat in 1952. Unlike earlier models, the E Sabre featured hydraulic controls, enabling it to shift from one maneuver to the next before enemy MiG-15s could react. This created an extraordinary situation in which the USAF was provided with the winning edge without even realizing it. (This insight formed the basis of Boyd’s “decision cycle” thesis.)

While the U.S. currently retains this edge, there’s no guarantee it will keep it. Aviation technology is a fast-changing field, sensitive to breakthroughs in many technical disciplines. Both Russia and China have tested stealth fighters, with the Russians claiming their Sukhoi PAK TA T-50 as fully equal to the USAF’s F-22 Raptor, the premier U.S. air superiority aircraft19. Production of the Raptor was capped at 187 planes by Secretary Gates over the protests of Air Force staff. While Gates claimed that the less-capable F-35 Lightning II would take up the slack, questions about program costs and delays have arisen over the past year. (Both the F-22 and F-35 have experienced serious systemic flaws over the past year that led to some aircraft being grounded. These should be viewed as shakedown problems not uncommon among new high-performance aircraft. The B-29, the bomber that defeated Japan, had numerous failings including uncontrollable engine fires and windows popping out at high altitude. The F-86 killed so many pilots that it was called the “lieutenant eater.” The B-47, the first strategic jet bomber, had a particularly stark drawback—in the early models, the wings tended to fall off during sharp turns.) The Marine Corps S/VTOL version is currently “on probation” and may well be cancelled. We could end up with far fewer than the 2,400 F-35s planned.
Another threat lies in advances in radar. It is possible to design a radar system that can detect, if not track, stealth aircraft. Australia’s JORN (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) system detects the turbulence created by an aircraft’s passage and is claimed to have a range of several thousand miles20. The Chinese are known to be working on an ultra-high frequency radar for the purpose of defeating stealth. It is easily possible that further advances could negate the stealth advantage, leaving the U.S. without air superiority for the first time since 1944.
The answer to this dilemma may well lie in the UAV. It’s remarkable to consider that the drone revolution that has transformed so many aspects of warfare was a matter of pure inadvertence. The original MQ-1 Predator drones were unarmed and were retrofitted with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles only after it was realized that the time lag between drones detecting a target and a fighter-bomber response was unnecessary. Since that time, drones such as the MQ-9 Reaper have been designed for weapons carriage from the first. We can assume that all drones from this point on will possess at least the capability of being armed.
It has been understood since 1972, when a Ryan Firebee operated by remote control easily outmaneuvered an F-4 Phantom in a series of dogfights, that drones could operate in the air-superiority role. It would be a simple matter to fit Predators or Reapers with AIM-9 Sidewinder or AIM-120 AMRAAM missile kits to enable them to operate as fighters. But both lack necessary speed and maneuverability, although the RQ-170 “Beast of Kandahar” drone, with its stealthy features and swept wings, appears to be approaching that level.

There’s little reason to doubt that DARPA, in its thorough way, is working on such aircraft and that prototypes may be flying at this moment at Groom Lake or a similar test base.

On the other hand, the future may already have arrived in the form of the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD), a small, expendable drone designed to confuse and overwhelm air defense radars21. MALDs can be programmed to maneuver precisely like manned aircraft, and can be launched by the hundreds from transports, hopelessly saturating any current air-defense system. Raytheon has begun developing versions of the MALD fitted with sensors and warheads, transforming them into armed fighter drones.

A MALD air-superiority system could be deployed in a number of ways. They could be launched from transports or AWACs (launch racks have been developed for this purpose), goading an opponent into sending up his aircraft, which would then be downed en masse by the drones. Range could be extended by shutting off the engine and gliding, or alternately by zooming up to high altitude, deploying a balloon or parachute, and drifting until a threat appears. (A USAF anti-radiation missile, the AGM-136 Tacit Rainbow, operates on this principle.)

Manned fighters carrying MALDs in lieu of bombs or external fuel tanks could launch them just before coming into enemy radar range. After the first wave of drones engaged the enemy, the F-15s and F-22s would fly in to mop up.

Whatever the technique (and experienced pilots and weapons officers will no doubt come up with far more intricate and effective tactics), it is clear that cheap drones can make up for shortfalls in manned air-superiority aircraft. With its current head start in UAV technology, the U.S. need not drop into second place (and in air combat, anything below number one is the loser) anytime soon. It’s also clear that drones will not “replace” so much as supplement manned fighter aircraft for the foreseeable future. There will always be a need for conscious mentalities, if only to figure out when the battle’s over.

A Bomber Revival?

The USAF has traditionally been a bomber service, its major mission that of strategic bombing, its legendary figures—Mitchell, Arnold, Spaatz, LeMay—bomber pilots and commanders. It was only in recent years that fighter pilots were granted the same lofty status as the bomber aristocracy.

But the manned bomber has had a rough time in recent decades, squeezed between improved air defenses and the titanic expense required to overcome them. Of the last three proposed strategic bombers, the B-70 Valkyrie was cancelled outright in the early 1960s, the B-1 Lancer was cancelled and then resurrected in the 1980s, and the B-2 Spirit, the storied “stealth bomber,” was limited by its cost of over $1 billion apiece to only 21 aircraft (20 of which are still flying, one having crashed at Guam in February 2008). The Air Force currently possesses under 200 strategic bombers, a derisory number compared the thousands deployed during the Cold War, much less the tens of thousands that fought WW II.

But drone technology may, paradoxically, rescue the manned bomber. Secretary Gates cancelled a bomber scheduled to be fielded by 2018. Apparently having second thoughts, Gates green-lighted a new bomber project just before his retirement. This Deep Strike Aircraft will be a stealth model that can fly either manned or unmanned, depending on mission requirements. While little is known about the B-3’s actual configuration, the bomber would possess both conventional and nuclear capability, carrying PGMs, bunker-busters, or air-to-ground rockets. Defense could be provided by high-energy lasers and also by versions of the MALD with the B-3 in effect carrying its own escort force, deployed upon entering hostile airspace and accompanying the bomber on its run against a target. (Aviation buffs will recognize this as the millennial version of the XF-85 Goblin, a late 1940s fighter designed for carriage by the B-36 as an escort plane. If you wait long enough, every technical gimmick comes around for a second run.) Over $4 billion has been budgeted for strike aircraft development. If all goes according to schedule, 80 to 100 B-3s will join the inventory sometime in the mid 2020s22.

Another revival is the Prompt Global Strike system, a weapon that could hit targets at intercontinental distances from CONUS (the Continental United States) within two hours. This weapon could strike high-value targets of temporary nature (say, a conference of terrorist leaders) without the diplomatic complications that might arise from launching an attack from a third-party state.

Several attempts have been made to develop such an asset, including a proposal to utilize surplus ICBMs or submarine-launched missiles in the role that was abandoned after it became apparent that there was no plausible way to assure bystander nations that they weren’t packed full of nuclear warheads. Attention shifted to hypersonic aircraft, with several projects initiated, including the Falcon (Force Application and Launch from CONUS), a reusable hypersonic cruise vehicle launched by rocket and capable of carrying a 12,000 lb. payload up to 9,000 miles, and the Blackswift, a Mach 6 multimission aircraft developed by DARPA for use as a spy plane, bomber, or satellite launcher23. Although funding of $1 billion was authorized, the Blackswift was cancelled in 2009.

But the hypersonic aircraft concept proved too tough to kill. The past year has seen some promising developments, including a successful test of the USAF’s X-51 hypersonic missile and flights by the Falcon HTV-2 which, though not flawless (the Falcons lost telemetry links with the ground and shut themselves down), produced valuable data. It was further revealed that yet another hypersonic bomber project, dubbed “Son of Blackswift” is under development. It appears that the U.S. will have an intercontinental fist to add to its conventional arsenal.

The United States need not relinquish its superiority as regards air power. The crucial question involves funding. Aerospace technology is expensive and often the first to be cut, as shown by the B-70, the B-1, and the Blackswift. But such cuts often represent false economies. Early in WW II, American pilots were forced to fight in sturdy but obsolescent aircraft such as the Bell P-39 and the Curtiss P-40 that simply could not stand up to the Luftwaffe’s Me-109s and Fw-190s, much less the superb Mitsubishi A6M Zero. It required two years for adequate American designs to appear. It would take far longer today, and wars in the millennial era simply don’t last that long. (The UK, on the other hand, spent large amounts during the mid-1930s developing fast, maneuverable eight-gun fighters, the Hawker Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire. These aircraft saved the country during the Battle of Britain.)
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #69 on: October 24, 2011, 21:03:54 »
An interesting response. I would not be quite so sanguine, many nations like the former USSR/todays Russia sit on a treasure trove of resources yet cannot benefit from it. Politics and culture have a great deal to do with this. Consider in our case, Saskatchewan was an NDP stronghold for decades, and had a very small and stunted economy as a result (especially compared to Alberta, right next door). The emergence of the Saskatchewan Party and its small "c" conservative style of governance threw off the shackles, and now Saskatchewan is flourishing.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8844646/World-power-swings-back-to-America.html

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World power swings back to America

The American phoenix is slowly rising again. Within five years or so, the US will be well on its way to self-sufficiency in fuel and energy. Manufacturing will have closed the labour gap with China in a clutch of key industries. The current account might even be in surplus.


By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor5:53PM BST 23 Oct 20111231 Comments

Assumptions that the Great Republic must inevitably spiral into economic and strategic decline - so like the chatter of the late 1980s, when Japan was in vogue - will seem wildly off the mark by then.

Telegraph readers already know about the "shale gas revolution" that has turned America into the world’s number one producer of natural gas, ahead of Russia.

Less known is that the technology of hydraulic fracturing - breaking rocks with jets of water - will also bring a quantum leap in shale oil supply, mostly from the Bakken fields in North Dakota, Eagle Ford in Texas, and other reserves across the Mid-West.

"The US was the single largest contributor to global oil supply growth last year, with a net 395,000 barrels per day (b/d)," said Francisco Blanch from Bank of America, comparing the Dakota fields to a new North Sea.

Total US shale output is "set to expand dramatically" as fresh sources come on stream, possibly reaching 5.5m b/d by mid-decade. This is a tenfold rise since 2009.

The US already meets 72pc of its own oil needs, up from around 50pc a decade ago.

"The implications of this shift are very large for geopolitics, energy security, historical military alliances and economic activity. As US reliance on the Middle East continues to drop, Europe is turning more dependent and will likely become more exposed to rent-seeking behaviour from oligopolistic players," said Mr Blanch.

Meanwhile, the China-US seesaw is about to swing the other way. Offshoring is out, 're-inshoring' is the new fashion.
"Made in America, Again" - a report this month by Boston Consulting Group - said Chinese wage inflation running at 16pc a year for a decade has closed much of the cost gap. China is no longer the "default location" for cheap plants supplying the US.
A "tipping point" is near in computers, electrical equipment, machinery, autos and motor parts, plastics and rubber, fabricated metals, and even furniture.

"A surprising amount of work that rushed to China over the past decade could soon start to come back," said BCG's Harold Sirkin.
The gap in "productivity-adjusted wages" will narrow from 22pc of US levels in 2005 to 43pc (61pc for the US South) by 2015. Add in shipping costs, reliability woes, technology piracy, and the advantage shifts back to the US.

The list of "repatriates" is growing. Farouk Systems is bringing back assembly of hair dryers to Texas after counterfeiting problems; ET Water Systems has switched its irrigation products to California; Master Lock is returning to Milwaukee, and NCR is bringing back its ATM output to Georgia. NatLabs is coming home to Florida.

Boston Consulting expects up to 800,000 manufacturing jobs to return to the US by mid-decade, with a multiplier effect creating 3.2m in total. This would take some sting out of the Long Slump.

As Philadelphia Fed chief Sandra Pianalto said last week, US manufacturing is "very competitive" at the current dollar exchange rate. Whether intended or not, the Fed's zero rates and $2.3 trillion printing blitz have brought matters to an abrupt head for China.

Fed actions confronted Beijing with a Morton's Fork of ugly choices: revalue the yuan, or hang onto the mercantilist dollar peg and import a US monetary policy that is far too loose for a red-hot economy at the top of the cycle. Either choice erodes China's wage advantage. The Communist Party chose inflation.

Foreign exchange effects are subtle. They take a long to time play out as old plant slowly runs down, and fresh investment goes elsewhere. Yet you can see the damage to Europe from an over-strong euro in foreign direct investment (FDI) data.

Flows into the EU collapsed by 63p from 2007 to 2010 (UNCTAD data), and fell by 77pc in Italy. Flows into the US rose by 5pc.
Volkswagen is investing $4bn in America, led by its Chattanooga Passat plant. Korea's Samsung has begun a $20bn US investment blitz. Meanwhile, Intel, GM, and Caterpillar and other US firms are opting to stay at home rather than invest abroad.

Europe has only itself to blame for the current “hollowing out” of its industrial base. It craved its own reserve currency, without understanding how costly this “exorbitant burden” might prove to be.

China and the rising reserve powers have rotated a large chunk of their $10 trillion stash into EMU bonds to reduce their dollar weighting. The result is a euro too strong for half of EMU.

The European Central Bank has since made matters worse (for Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France) by keeping rates above those of the US, UK, and Japan. That has been a deliberate policy choice. It let real M1 deposits in Italy contract at a 7pc annual rate over the summer. May it live with the consequences.

The trade-weighted dollar has been sliding for a decade, falling 37pc since 2001. This roughly replicates the post-Plaza slide in the late 1980s, which was followed - with a lag - by 3pc of GDP shrinkage in the current account deficit. The US had a surplus by 1991.

Charles Dumas and Diana Choyleva from Lombard Street Research argue that this may happen again in their new book "The American Phoenix".
The switch in advantage to the US is relative. It does not imply a healthy US recovery. The global depression will grind on as much of the Western world tightens fiscal policy and slowly purges debt, and as China deflates its credit bubble.

Yet America retains a pack of trump cards, and not just in sixteen of the world’s top twenty universities.

It is almost the only economic power with a fertility rate above 2.0 - and therefore the ability to outgrow debt - in sharp contrast to the demographic decay awaiting Japan, China, Korea, Germany, Italy, and Russia.

Europe's EMU soap opera has shown why it matters that America is a genuine nation, forged by shared language and the ancestral chords of memory over two centuries, with institutions that ultimately work and a real central bank able to back-stop the system.

The 21st Century may be American after all, just like the last.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 20:11:31 by Thucydides »
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #70 on: October 25, 2011, 18:23:30 »
Deleted because I didn't apply think check.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 18:57:25 by daftandbarmy »
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #71 on: November 17, 2011, 12:59:32 »
J.R. Dunn on the future of American power on the ground. (It is interesting to note that while AirLand Battle was the premier response to the 20th century threat of Soviet military power, the emerging strategy seems to be AirSea Battle; to maximise the maritime power of the United States against enemies around the world):

http://baen.com/beatingdecline2.asp

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BEATING DECLINE V.2

by J.R. Dunn

WAR IN THE DIRT

Land warfare will change most under America’s new circumstances. Since 1918, when the U.S. came to the support of the beleaguered Western Allies with two and half million troops, the massive American expeditionary force has been an international fact of life. For nearly a century, vast armadas carrying hundreds of thousands of American troops have played a critical role on battlefields as far-flung as North Africa, Italy, Normandy, the Solomons, the Philippines, Korea, and Kuwait. No potential opponent could afford to overlook the possibility of America deploying unmatchable military resources to any spot on the globe in defense of an ally or its own interests.

For the time being, that is over. We simply cannot afford that level of outlay in any situation not involving national survival. The world will be a colder, crueler, and more dangerous place for it. Until at least mid-century, American foreign interventions will be limited and brief. They are likely to follow the model of Afghanistan 2001, with U.S. skill and firepower coming to the assistance of friendly native forces. (But not Libya 2011, which was not an intervention as much as a performance art interpretation of what an intervention might be like.) Larger interventions – though still minor compared to the world wars and the Gulf campaigns – will be restricted to supporting close allies.

It follows that if the U.S. is limited to dispatching battalions rather than divisions or armies, then those battalions will need to have a bigger impact when they reach the battlefield. This is where technology, acting as a force multiplier, will prove crucial.

One promising development involves utilizing information technology to increase a small unit’s C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) capabilities. A unit in which all troops are in communication, officers have a universal view of the battlespace, everyone knows where everyone else is, and all personnel are continually updated, would have an insurmountable advantage over less well-equipped adversaries. Clausewitz’s “fog of war” would be largely a thing of the past.

That was the thinking behind Secretary Rumsfeld’s plan for a “net-centric Army,” built around a program called Land Warrior. Fifteen years of development and half a billion dollars resulted in a system that was expensive, heavy, fragile, and loathed by many soldiers. A battery-powered CPU ran the system. Communications through a helmet headphone system transmitted encrypted signals up to a kilometer. A screen in front of one eye provided data input, including GPS positions. (Among other things, the screen could show a soldier what was around the next corner. Extending his rifle barrel enabled a digital sight to send a clear picture to the screen. The old dodge of putting a helmet on a stick could be dropped at last.)

But at sixteen pounds the system was too heavy in addition to the standard pack load, and the cost was edging up toward 80K per soldier. In a final attempt to save the program, the Army replaced military spec equipment with off-the-shelf commercial gear. This cut both weight and cost, but proved too fragile for rough military usage. The Army reluctantly canceled the program.

Redesignated the “Ground Soldier Ensemble,” remaining Land Warrior units were sent to Iraq for testing with the 4/9 Infantry Battalion, the “Manchus”. In Iraq, the Army learned a trick known to IT pros worldwide: give it to the kids and let them tinker with it. Within weeks, the Manchus had the Land Warrior equipment stripped down, reworked, and improved (e.g. chemlights were added to the screen to denote friendlies and targets). The new system worked so well that it equipped a full brigade shipping out for Afghanistan, the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry. Results there were mixed – the system had been optimized for the Iraqi urban environment as opposed to rural Afghanistan -- but were still promising enough to revive the program.

The new program, called Nett Warrior, retained the improvements worked out in Iraq and Afghanistan. The weight was only 7.6 lbs., the cost roughly 48K per soldier. Three companies were competing for the final contract, with limited production scheduled to begin this year, when at the last minute, confusion enveloped the entire effort. In late July industry sources claimed that Nett Warrior had been canceled. The Army insisted that it had simply been placed on “hold.” Other sources reported that the program was being replaced with a smart phone using Android technology.

It’s difficult to imagine a smart phone providing all the functionality of the Nett Warrior system. Eventually something similar will be required on the 21st-century battlefield. Whether it will be introduced by U.S. forces is anyone’s guess.

Millennial Weaponry

Infotech has only begun to influence the evolution of infantry weapons. The most impressive result so far is the XM-25 “smartgun,” a 25 mm grenade launcher that fires programmable rounds in several different varieties – airburst fragmentation, high-explosive, and shaped-charge anti-armor.1 The frag rounds drew the greatest interest. The XM-25’s laser sight provides the exact distance to a target – say, a concrete wall. The round is then programmed to explode a meter beyond the wall – that is, directly above hidden enemy forces.

The XM-25 was tested in Afghanistan beginning in December 2010, to great enthusiasm from the troops, who christened it “the Punisher.” The gun destroyed at least two Taliban machine gun nests (a favorite Taliban tactic is to open up on patrols with heavy PAK machine guns from beyond the range of a squad’s organic weapons, then flee before air support arrives), and broke up four ambushes. So pleased were the troops that they were allowed to continue using the XM-25 after field tests were completed. The gun’s manufacturer ATK was awarded a $65 million contract to begin production.

DARPA has produced a similar item, a cybernetic gunsight that enables snipers to hit a target with the first shot. An internal CPU calculates distance, wind velocity, humidity, and other variables, and adjusts the sight accordingly. Several operational prototypes are being tested in Afghanistan.

Yet another DARPA program hopes to provide small units with their own air support in the form of drones. The USAF has never been happy with the ground support role, involving as it does low and slow approaches against dug-in enemy forces. Infantry, for their part, are often less than delighted with the amount of time required for an aerial response. DARPA would overcome this by providing a soldier – a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) -- with a data link to an accompanying drone (either hovering overhead or in a nearby vehicle) which could be called in immediately in case of trouble. Raytheon is working on armaments for such drones in the form of the Small Tactical Munition (STM), a 13-pound GPS-guided bomb. It’s very likely that these will see combat in Afghanistan, if they haven’t already.

I, Warbot

More than 2,000 robots have been employed in combat in Afghanistan, making it in a sense the first robot conflict. A third of these are Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) machines such as the Talon and the PackBot, which are deployed under remote control to detonate or defuse bombs and IEDs. (Technically, these aren’t actually robots but telefactors, but who knows the difference?) Others include mine-clearing machines such as the M-160, a “flail” that clears ground by slamming chains as it passes. These machines have performed valuable work and have saved no small number of lives.

What we don’t find are actual fighting machines – the “warbots” of SF lore. (At this point, it’s mandatory that Terminator be mentioned. Okay –Terminator.) The problem lies in autonomy. Groundbots, as opposed to aerial drones, are simply incapable, at this point in development, of operating without close human supervision. In the early days of AI research, it was assumed that abstract problem-solving would be the major roadblock to creating useful machine intelligence. But problem-solving through sheer data-crunching presents little difficulty. The real challenge turned out to be everyday matters that we accomplish without a second thought thanks to countless subroutines developed over millions of years of evolution, things on the order of stepping over a rock or climbing stairs. Encountering the smallest distraction or obstacle can trigger what amounts to a cybernetic breakdown – not something you want in an armed machine. So while robot manufacturers such as Foster-Miller have armed their bomb-disposal units with shotguns, machine guns, and grenade launchers, these SWORDS (Special Weapons Observation Remote Reconnaissance Direct Action System) units are operated only by remote control. The same is true of more advanced systems such as MAARS (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System), an anti-personnel robot that can fire anything from pepper spray to 40 mm grenades2. MAARS features both a mechanical fan to prevent it from swinging its gun toward friendly forces and software delineating no-fire zones. (These are strictly necessary. Robot weapons have already killed innocent victims. In 2007, a computerized Oerlikon antiaircraft gun belonging to the South African Defense Forces suffered a software glitch that caused it to fire wildly in all directions. The gun killed nine soldiers and wounded fourteen others before it ran out of ammunition.)

So it’ll be a long time before we see actual combat robots. But there are other roles that robots can play. One example is Big Dog, a quadraped robotic mule (I don’t know where they got “dog” either) designed to carry heavy loads over rough ground. Big Dog is another DARPA project, built by Boston Dynamics with assistance from other robotics manufacturers. It can carry over 300 pounds at five miles an hour (slightly faster than walking speed), and is capable of climbing hills. Films of the beast in action reveal disturbingly lifelike activity3. A larger model, Alpha Dog, with a hundred pounds greater payload, is also being tested.

Even more disturbing is a second DARPA/Boston Dynamics program, the Cheetah, another four-legged robot featuring a head and a flexible spine4. The Cheetah is designed to run faster than any human and operate in a semi-autonomous mode as it stalks and runs down enemy forces. The possibilities of these things accompanying troops into battle are not difficult to envision.

Getting There

“I get there first with the most men.” That was how Nathan Bedford Forrest explained his Civil War cavalry victories. Getting there first has been standard American policy ever since, whether it involved railroads, trucks, mechanized units, or helicopters. Maintaining this advantage will provide a necessary edge in decades to come.

One innovative means is the military exoskeleton. DARPA has spent over $50 million in recent years developing an exoskeleton, the XOS, that will enable infantry to carry heavy loads over long distances at high speeds without arriving exhausted. Such suits could provide troops with ballistic protection and would certainly solve the Nett Warrior weight problem. Videos of the system reveal troops moving with surprising agility5. The sole drawback is the lack of a compact power source. (Another design, the HULC, supports only the soldier’s legs while leaving the arms free. HULC has much lower power requirements.) While it might be impractical and too expensive to fit out all Army soldiers with exoskeletons, it would certainly benefit specialized troops such as mountain units.

A key element of American strategy for the past half-century has been vertical envelopment – the use of helicopter-borne air assault forces to spearhead attacks. While it has unquestionably proven itself, the helicopter does have drawbacks, including vulnerability, fragility, and a relatively slow airspeed. Helicopters have proven the Achilles heel of many operations, including the 1980 Iran hostage rescue mission (nearly half the choppers involved turned back due to mechanical failures), and this year’s Osama bin Laden raid. The recent deaths of thirty members of Seal Team Six in Afghanistan when their Chinook transport was shot down in what may have been a prearranged ambush underlines these shortcomings.

The military has attempted to supplement or replace the helicopter since the 1950s with little success. The Marine Corp’s V-22 Osprey is one example6. Despite years of development and billions in costs the Osprey’s introduction to operations has been mixed. One serious shortcoming involves the fact that most Ospreys are unarmed. A version fitted with a chin turret was cancelled. A handful instead feature belly-mounted miniguns. Since the aircraft is simply too fast for helicopter escort, it is generally restricted to noncombat operations, quite a limitation for a military aircraft.

A partial solution to the helicopter dilemma has been offered by veteran manufacturer Sikorsky, which achieved a long-sought breakthrough in helicopter technology with its X-2 program7. The X-2 mates a coaxial rotor system, in which two separate rotors turn in opposite directions on the same mast, with a rear propeller that can push the chopper up to 250 mph, almost twice as fast as conventional helicopters. The X-2 nearly matches the Osprey in performance without the heavy, sensitive mechanical linkages used in the Osprey’s flip-rotor system. The company is developing a military version, the S-97. Introduction of this helicopter may well revolutionize air assault tactics.

Even more innovative vehicles are in the works. DARPA has been bitten by the ancient aircar bug on behalf of the Marines in the form of the unfortunately named Transformer (TX) program, an effort to design a Humvee-class vehicle that can drive on roads and cross-country but in rough terrain take off and fly over obstacles much the same as a light helicopter8. The Transformer (TX) will be operated by a cybernetic “autonomous flying system” being developed at Carnegie-Mellon that would enable even the most unskilled driver to take to the air without extensive training.

The Israeli company Urban Aeronautics has developed a vehicle it calls the AirMule (not the AirDog, fortunately), a ducted-fan lifter intended to carry wounded soldiers off the battlefield swiftly and in comfort9. The AirMule is pilotless, guided solely by an onboard computer system. Such a vehicle could also carry supplies and weapons. Flight tests have been successful, with the Defense Department expressing considerable interest.

Will these designs go anywhere? Similar vehicles with various arrangements of fans, turbines, and so forth have been investigated for decades with few worthwhile results. But designers can take heart in the success of the new Martin Aircraft “jetpack.”10 The jetpack has been a reality since the 1960s, although its flight duration of roughly 30 seconds rendered it essentially useless. But the new model – not a rocket-propelled system at all but a man-sized ducted-fan vehicle – has overcome that drawback. Tethered manned tests and a computer-guided unmanned distance flight have revealed no basic problems. These vehicles would come in quite handy on future Abbotabad-type missions.

Yet another old dream has a chance of becoming reality. Ithacus was a 1960s proposal for an intercontinental rocket transport carrying several hundred infantrymen to any spot on earth on a few hours notice11. Our lack of rocket-dispatched troops has gnawed at DARPA, and serious thought has gone into a solution. A program called Sustain (Small Unit Space Transportation and Insertion) overseen by the National Security Space Office has defined the mission and outlined a concept of operations for such a system. Picture something along the lines of an upgraded White Knight/Spaceship One system, a small suborbital module launched by a mother craft with effectively global range. Such a vehicle might carry as few as a dozen troops, which suggests special operations as the chief mission. An active Sustain system is probably decades down the line, but it will come. Imagine what the Seals would do with a capability like that.

Not even military field uniforms will remain untransformed. Research has begun on the creation of “biometric” fatigues that will monitor a soldier’s vital signs and immediately signal a medic if he is hit. With use of electrically active materials, these fatigues could tighten at the joints to form a tourniquet. Advanced models might even give injections.

Camouflage is another element aching to be upgraded. Camo gear custom-tailored for a particular area is already in the works. Photos of the area would be used as a pattern, to create a perfect site-specific camouflage that would be printed out using “direct to garment” technology.

It’s even possible that camouflage as such would no longer be necessary. Consider the “invisibility cloak” invented by researchers at the University of Tokyo12. Microprocessors project the view on either side of the garment on the surface of the opposite side, with the wearer fading into the surroundings. While less than convincing close up, from a distance in a dim environment it might work rather well. Such “optical camouflage” would have no end of military uses.

We can picture the American soldier on a future battlefield – so speak; he’s a little hard to see. He is in direct contact with the rest of his unit, with a bird’s-eye view in his helmet visor of exactly what lies ahead, armed with a gun that doesn’t miss. He is accompanied by one, and perhaps more, four-legged robots moving eerily through the brush, transmitting imagery as they go. Overhead a barely-visible wraith glides in near-silence, providing recon and air support.

It’s tempting to think of such a figure as being invincible. But we need to keep in mind that his opponents, whether terrorists or legitimate troops, will have access to many of the same technological advances. Our soldiers have not yet encountered enemies armed with weaponry of that class, but that day is coming. We will need to work at it to remain ahead.

end part one

« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 13:05:35 by Thucydides »
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #72 on: November 17, 2011, 13:02:23 »
Part two:

http://baen.com/beatingdecline2.asp

Quote
Orbital Encounters

Space is the sad story of the 21st century. The idea that the U.S. would be moving into the millennial epoch with no manned program at all would have been unimaginable as little as ten years ago. No other single development so clearly reveals how much we have declined in power and expertise.

Does the collapse of American manned spaceflight threaten U.S. security interests? Not directly – US warfighting capabilities are based on orbital satellite assets, mostly in geosynchronous orbit but to a lesser extent in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). These include communications, GPS, reconnaissance and surveillance, and strategic early warning satellites. The U.S. could not mount even the most basic military campaign without its satellite network.

None of these systems is related to any manned program. But the fact that the U.S. has abandoned manned spaceflight for the foreseeable future (and let’s not kid ourselves about planned “asteroid missions.” That program will last only as long as the next federal budget crunch) will only serve to encourage our rivals in exploiting the “new high ground” of near-earth space.

This is certainly true of China. The Chinese manned program is going great guns, and they fully intend to carry out a Lunar mission in the early 2020s, long before the U.S. can mount a return to space. More to the point, they have shown no hesitation about engaging in orbital warfare. On January 11, 2007, a Chinese ballistic missile destroyed a defunct weather satellite in polar orbit at an altitude of 500 miles13. This strike generated something on the order of 300,000 pieces of debris, rendering that particular orbital plane unusable and threatening satellites at other altitudes. The Chinese simply shrugged off what was generally viewed as an act of thuggery matching the Soviet Union at its worst.

This newly-revealed satellite vulnerability may well have influenced the development of the USAF’s X-37B, a reusable unmanned “Space Maneuver Vehicle” operational since April 201014.

The X-37B has a convoluted development history, beginning as the USAF’s X-40A before being melded with NASA’s X-37 program. When that program was cancelled in 2006 (which seems to be the fate of most NASA programs these days), the Air Force in cooperation with the ever-dependable DARPA came to the rescue, adapting it as the X-37B. The premature shutdown of the STS Space Shuttle program left the X-37B as America’s only operational reusable spacecraft. (There has been no end of rumors about “black” spaceplanes operating out of Groom Lake under code names such as “Aurora” and “Senior Citizen.” These should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s difficult to see why valuable funding would be spent on the X-37B – much less the X-51 or Falcon HTV – if they actually existed.)

The X-37B is basically a mini-shuttle, roughly 29 feet long, with a wingspan of just under 15 feet and an operational weight of 11,000 pounds. Its launch vehicle is the Atlas V. It can remain in LEO for up to 270 days. It is a multimission vehicle, capable of placing small payloads in orbit, examining satellites, or reconnaissance. It has flown several missions since its introduction, their nature remaining secret, and their execution more than a little confusing to skywatchers.

The X-37B represents at a least a partial solution to satellite vulnerability. While payload is limited, DARPA is known to be developing a series of “minisatellites” of very small dimensions and weight. It is probable that at least some of these can act as emergency replacements for satellites damaged or destroyed during wartime. Apart from this, the X-37B can also act in the same role, using equipment within its payload bay.

The X-37B is the model for U.S. military space operations for the near future. Upgraded versions likely under development today will increase payload, time in orbit, and operational altitudes. Armed versions are not out of the question. It is probable that the first orbital strikes will involve combat drones. Since the U.S. has a dramatic head start in drone technology, it is unlikely that China or anyone else will be able to sweep us from orbit.

Space, of course, is crucial to any workable nuclear defense system in the form of projectile or laser satellites of the type researched as part of the Reagan-era Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The U.S. has low-keyed such systems for years, largely for political reasons. We have chosen to rely instead on 1960s era technology, a limited number of ABM missiles stationed at Fort Greely, Alaska. We may yet pay an ungodly price for this oversight. Both nuclear weapon and ballistic missile technology are becoming cheaper and more widespread. It is by no means difficult to picture a vicious dictator of the Saddam or Qaddafi type utilizing such weapons under any number of circumstances. At the moment, a defense is out of our hands. It will be decades before we will be able to afford a space-based defensive system. Until then, we must depend on luck to protect us. I’m sure that everyone feels as secure about that as I do.

CYBERWARFARE

Cyberwarfare is pure novelty, with everyone feeling their way across a bizarre and unknown landscape. The problem for the U.S. is that we tend to view such developments with a little more equanimity than we should, on the grounds that nobody handles new tech quite as well as we do. This attitude has turned around to bite us on several previous occasions. (See “Pearl Harbor.”)

There’s a distinct contradiction in the U.S. stance toward cyberwarfare: the U.S. is the leading state in offensive cyberwarfare, while our defensive preparations are pitiable.

Stuxnet Rules

American offensive cyberwarfare capabilities are embodied in the Stuxnet worm, which most experts view as a collaboration between the U.S. and Israel15. Stuxnet was not so much an example of malware as a new order of cybernetic weapon, an extremely complex program with numerous capabilities, some of them never before seen in a virus16.

Stuxnet was first detected in July 2010, although it had been active for at least six months previously. At first it was treated like any other malware outbreak, but in short order IT security experts realized they were dealing with something extraordinary. Stuxnet targeted not only one particular model of equipment – Seimens SCADA industrial control systems – but only those operating in a certain frequency range and sold by two particular vendors that had defied sanctions placed on Iran. It utilized not just one but four distinct “zero-day exploits” (previously unknown software vulnerabilities). It was able to hide in a computer’s rootkit while also propagating throughout any internal network it was introduced into. It was apparently able to communicate with outside servers while also being modified in situ.

All this was aimed at the Iranian nuclear program, transparently devoted to the development of nuclear weapons. Iran refined weapons-grade uranium at its Natanz site utilizing a gas centrifuge array run by a Windows network driving Seimens SCADA units. Stuxnet caused the centrifuges, whirling at several thousand rpms, to first speed up and then, some weeks later, drastically slow down while at the same time assuring watching techs that all was well. This treatment not only destroyed the centrifuges but also contaminated the uranium being processed at the time. Although an Iranian disinformation campaign claims that little damage was done, a large number of centrifuges were wrecked – the Federation of American Scientists puts the number at 1,000. Further damage was caused to the Bushehr reactor, setting back its ignition by some months. Rumors of a “serious nuclear accident” at Natanz have also circulated.

Effects are still being felt, with tens of thousands of Iranian computers still infected. An assassination campaign targeting Iranian nuclear scientists has further battered the program, which staggers on, awaiting the appearance of Son of Stuxnet.

Defenses: Cyberstooges!

At some point in September (if not earlier) somebody planted a virus in a supposedly secure computer system at Creech Air Force Base, home of one of the most critical – and successful – contemporary American military assets. Creech is the control center for America’s drone fleet, where the Predators and Reapers are flown (through satellite linkages) against our country’s Jihadi enemies. It’s the last place anyone would want to find a virus. But find it they did17.

The virus in question is a keylogger, malware that saves every keystroke made on an infected computer. By such means an interested party can reconstruct the instruction stream for the system in question. Somebody is really interested in how our drone fleet is operated.

How did this virus get into the network? Like many critical IT systems, the Creech network is isolated from the Internet through “air gap.” There are no connections, either by pipeline or broadband, between the Creech infranet and the Net at large. So somebody used the Bradley Manning method. They walked in with an infected flash drive or disk, popped it in, and that was all she wrote. Whether it was deliberate or accidental remains unknown. Whatever the case, it indicates a seriously flawed infotech security protocol.

To make things even worse, the security staff attempted to flush the virus without informing anyone in the armed forces cybersecurity hierarchy, either the 24th Air Force or Cyber Command. The Pentagon’s cybersecurity experts were kept in the dark for two weeks while the Creech team stumbled around fruitlessly. The 24th Air Force had to read about the virus in Wired.18

At last report, the virus was still infesting the system. But, we’re assured, nobody’s really worried about it. Isn’t that a relief?

With such unparalleled success in the offensive mode, how do we explain the pathetic state of American cyberdefenses? The record of successful hacking sprees directed against U.S. government and military targets leaves the impression that anyone can break in, take whatever they want, and saunter off at their leisure, much the same as a member of flash mob hitting a convenience store. In addition to the Creech exploit, during only the past year:

    * In March, a defense industry computer network suffered the loss of files containing 24,000 documents19. Many involved classified programs. At least one weapons system under development had to be totally redesigned after the specs and plans were hacked from the contractor’s database.
    * In May, Lockheed Martin and several smaller defense contractors were hacked, with an unknown amount of information on secret projects lifted20.
    * In June, Google revealed that attempts had been made to hack hundreds of Gmail passwords of government officials in the Pentagon, the Department of State, and even the White House21.
    * In early August, IT security firm McAfee revealed that a five-year hacking campaign, which the company dubbed “Operation Shady RAT” (for “Remote Access Tool”, a type of software used to access offsite computers), had compromised 72 different targets worldwide22. Of these, 49 were American. The others included the UN and the International Olympic Committee. Although McAfee was unwilling to state it outright, the guilty party was China. (Dell SecureWorks traced a connection to several Chinese command computers.)

This is only the tip of the iceberg. U.S. defense-related computer systems were attacked 6 million times in 2006. By 2010, this had grown to 6 million attacks a day. How many of these are successful is unknown. Obviously, someone is deliberately targeting American military cybernetic assets.

“Someone” could be any number of potential enemies or even allies. Some attacks originate from Russia or other former Soviet states. But in the vast majority of cases, “someone” is Chinese.

China possesses the largest and most organized cyberwarfare force in the world. While not capable of the sophistication of a Stuxnet-type attack, what the Chinese can accomplish through massed numbers and brute force beggars the imagination. On April 8, 2010, the state-owned China Telecom rerouted 15 percent of the world's Internet traffic through Chinese servers for 18 minutes23. What they did with all that data remains unknown. Last July, China hacked every last member of South Korea's Cyber World social network – 35 million people, virtually every Internet user in the country24.

The Chinese have accomplished these feats through a state-sponsored hacker militia called the “blue army.”25 In truth, it is probably no militia at all but instead a full-fledged military command. The size and composition of the blue army remain unknown. It is headquartered in Jinan, where many of the most egregious hacking attempts have been traced. China is the sole nation to possess such a cybernetic military force.

The Chinese inadvertently raised the curtain on the blue army this past August in a propaganda documentary on the glories of the Chinese military. At one point background footage revealed a military computer screen actually set up to carry out a cyberattack by way of a subverted University of Alabama IP address. The screen displayed the name of the software and a window saying “Choose Attack Target” along with a list of addresses. What was the actual target? The Falun Gong, the spiritual sect that the Chinese Politburo for obscure reasons has chosen to persecute as a national enemy. (The footage also reveals that the blue army is not very sophisticated, more or less operating on the level of what we call “script kids,” newbies using prewritten code, as opposed to actual hackers.)

What is the blue army up to? Reconnaissance, probing, data theft, spying, recruiting for botnets (they had taken over as many as 750,000 zombie computers even five years ago), and loading viruses and logic bombs for later use.

End Part 2
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 13:05:10 by Thucydides »
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #73 on: November 17, 2011, 13:04:13 »
Part 3

http://baen.com/beatingdecline2.asp

Quote
Targeting the Infrastructure

A major target exists in the U.S. utilities infrastructure. The control systems of much of America’s technical infrastructure, including power, electricity, water, and sewage, has been made Internet accessible to save money and time on maintenance and operations. Since anything on the Internet can be hacked by one means or another, we have effectively handed a switch to our foreign enemies marked, “Flick this to shut down America.”

The indispensable McAfee released a report last April prepared by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and titled "In the Dark: Crucial Industries Confront Cyberattacks."26 The CSIS interviewed 200 IT security execs for utility companies handling oil, gas, electricity, water, and sewage in 14 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Japan, and South Korea. Over 70 percent of the security chiefs reported that they had discovered malware introduced into their networks during 2010, nearly double the number for 2009. Over 40 percent considered their companies vulnerable, and 30% did not think their security was sufficient. Another 40 percent expected a major attack within the next year.

This threat is about to grow exponentially worse with the introduction by many utilities of smart grid technology. A smart grid is an Internet-based system that enables remote monitoring and regulation of home, office, or building utilities by either the owner or the utility company itself. Many of these will allow customer Internet access of a company’s systems, which will transform security against hackers from “very difficult” to “absolutely impossible.” Three-quarters of America’s electrical companies are using, installing, or planning smart grids.

Imagine trying to carry out a military campaign with your country’s utilities flatlined, rioting and violence rampant in what used to be your cities, starvation beginning, and epidemic disease about to swoop in. Enemy strategy writes itself: slip a “blue stuxnet” worm into the U.S. utility net, watch the country dissolve into chaos, wait until American military assets head for home to confront the catastrophe, then take over Taiwan, the Spratleys, and whatever else catches your eye. Afterward, you offer your assistance to the U.S. in purging its systems in exchange for a promise to abandon the Western Pacific. Or just sit back and enjoy the spectacle, whichever you prefer.

This is not as farfetched as it seems. In 2007 Estonia was crippled by a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack by a group calling itself the Nastri. (A DDoS attack overwhelms a network by sending large numbers of information packets (requests, e-mails, messages, etc.) until the network’s capacity to handle them is exceeded. It has nothing directly to do with MS-DOS connections with the outside world.) The attack shut down government websites along with public news sites and came close to bringing down the entire Estonian net. The Nastri was almost certainly supported by Russian military and security assets. (The reason for the strike? The Estonians had dared to move a Soviet-era war memorial. )

The same thing occurred when the Russian Federation came to the assistance of its oppressed Ossetian brothers in the swift and brutal Georgia invasion of August 2008. The Georgian net was brought down completely, crippling the government response to Russian aggression and cutting off Georgian connections with the outside world.

It’s not out of the question that such strikes have already occurred in the U.S. The Cleveland blackout of 2003 affected over 50 million people in both the U.S. and Canada. At the time it was explained away as tree branches falling on power lines. Today many IT security professionals believe it was a Net-based utility strike, a beta test of a new app, originating nowhere else but from China. (The first elements to go were power company computers, which had their alarm systems shut off while local power systems were methodically sabotaged.) Much the same has been said about the 2008 Florida blackout.

(Ironically, it was the U.S. that kicked off this style of cybersabotage with a 1982 CIA attack on the Siberian natural gas pipeline that the Soviets were using to gain precious foreign currency and also influence potential Western European customers27. A “logic bomb” inserted into the control system wrecked the pumps, caused the pipeline to back up, and at last blew it up in an explosion visible from orbit.)

The Bogus Chip Problem

If all this wasn’t bad enough, we also have the subverted chip problem, which finally caught the attention of government security agencies only a quarter-century after it was first proposed in a novel by a pair of Frenchmen (Softwar [Le Guerre Douce] by Thierry Breton and Denis Beneich). An unknown but large number of chips and other hardware utilized in military and security devices were produced under contract by companies located within the borders of our friend China. The implications are appalling. Any one of tens of thousands of such chips could be hardwired to short out, shut down the system, send everything in the files to Jinan, or order the weapon it’s operating to attack the White House one dark night. Homeland Security does not even want to talk about this (their spokesman admitted to the problem at Congressional hearings this summer only after furious prodding)28. While it’s theoretically possible to sort out subverted chips (a chip with an extra logic circuit will show a minute but detectable difference in impedance, for one thing), the only practical solution is to replace every last suspect chip with one made in a secure U.S. facility. This will be slow, expensive, and, by the very nature of things, incomplete.

It’s not merely Junior hacking on a basement PC. So what is the response of the authorities, military and otherwise? The National Security Agency’s (NSA) plans are of course unknown but likely to be potent and well considered. Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) appears to have taken on the role of an über-McAfee or Norton, issuing detailed alerts that will be carefully read after an attack occurs. The FBI has established InfraGard, billed as an “industry-Bureau partnership” intended to protect the country’s infrastructure networks29. But InfraGard depends on voluntary industry reportage and does not seem particularly well staffed or funded.

As for the military, U.S. Cyber Command’s primary mission was to defend military systems from foreign attack – not government or domestic networks. So it was a relief when last spring the Pentagon released its long-awaited cybersecurity plan30. The Defense Department for the first time declared cyberspace to be “a domain of war,” in which cyberattacks breaching a certain threshold of damage or destruction equivalent to that of a real-world military action would trigger a full response from the U.S. military. This represented a long-overdue shift from the law-enforcement paradigm, in which cybersecurity was a problem for the FBI and the Justice Department, to a matter of national defense, with matching levels of resources and urgency. It also expanded military cybernetic responsibilities from defense of military systems to defense of all systems, government, business, and civilian, on a national level.

The plan climaxes with a statement of a frankness that would never be found in any civilian governmental document: “The department and the nation have vulnerabilities in cyberspace. Our reliance on cyberspace stands in stark contrast to the inadequacy of our cybersecurity.”

While we can’t be certain this plan caused any sleepless nights in Jinan, it does represent a useful step toward a doctrine of cyberwarfare, which the U.S. still lacks. And who knows? It may well bring to an end such probes and tests as those that caused the Cleveland blackout.

In the realm of practical solutions, a number of actions suggest themselves, most of them simply adapting standard IT security practice to the national level.

Air Gaps Work; Use Them – every critical or secret network, whether governmental, military, or industry, must be isolated from the Internet. No exceptions.

Personnel Discipline – no more Bradley Mannings wandering in and out of secure facilities with CD-Roms labeled “Lady Gaga.” If someone is carrying a diskette, a CD, a flash drive, a memory stick, or anything else capable of holding data, sooner or later it will be plugged in.

No Smart Grids – these systems have been promoted to save money. How much in the way of savings makes up for a national catastrophe? The air defense system around New York City was shut down in large part to save money too. Smart grids need to be reexamined in light of the threat they embody. The concept must be reworked to remove any possibility of manipulation by hackers or foreign powers. Otherwise, it needs to be thrown onto the “attractive but dangerous tech” pile, along with dirigibles, the (original) Orion spacecraft, and light-water nuclear reactors.

Dump Subverted Hardware – immediate replacement is required. The entire inventory needs to be destroyed and all devices and circuits that could even possibly have utilized such a part must be replaced in toto. This is the only method of obtaining security in this case.

B Team Analysis – we require a “B Team” to examine, analyze, and report on the entire American IT system on a national security basis. This team should not only comprise government personnel, but also military officers, representatives of the staffs of Microsoft, McAfee, the Register, and the computer department of Carnegie-Mellon, the kids who walk around wearing Guy Fawkes masks, and if possible, the ghost of Colonel Boyd.

Establish a Cybermilitia –We require an independent cyberservice comprised of network defenders in large numbers. Perhaps the best solution would be an actual civilian militia after the model of the old Civil Air Patrol (CAP). The Net has to be guarded actively and constantly. One problem lies in the neo-anarchist posturing common among the IT community, but not everybody acts that way and even fewer actually believe it. Our IT strength lies with wild kids all across the country. We need to think about using them.

A Full Military Doctrine – not only to defend the U.S. and its cybernetic assets, both military and civilian, but to destroy, if necessary, any cybernetic threat to the nation’s well-being whether national or rogue. Cybersecurity needs to be transferred to military control -- unless we’re satisfied to have it handled by the same type of mentality that paws two-year-olds in airports.

This is only the beginning. We are at about the same point with cyberwarfare as was reached by air power in 1940 – before the huge raids of WW II, before supersonic jets, intercontinental bombers, radar networks, SAMs, or nuclear weapons. Cyberwarfare is leaving its infancy and is just out of the silk scarf and leather helmet stage. What awaits us is hidden within the bright glare of future days, but we can be sure at the very least that it will be fascinating, unexpected, and very deadly.

End Part 3
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #74 on: November 17, 2011, 13:04:50 »
Part 4

http://baen.com/beatingdecline2.asp

Quote
The Long Run

We’ve established that it’s possible, with some thought, effort, and money well spent, for the U.S. to get through its upcoming trials in relatively good shape. We must also rely to some extent on luck and the bottom not falling out completely. There are truly catastrophic scenarios in which a technological edge would provide us with little or nothing – a full-scale nuclear strike, an attack with tailored microorganisms (I’ve often wondered why most scenarios dealing with biowar, whether fictional or otherwise, are limited to one bug. Surely there would be two or three, one picking up where the other left off?), the destruction of the American – or global – Internet (this has been established as at least theoretically possible), a technological singularity gone wrong (or, for that matter gone right)31. But these are events for which no preparation would ever be enough. We make rational plans for plausible contingencies, and apart from that, we hope.

One other point relates to how we got into this sorry mess, which was easily foreseeable, and subject to some level of prevention –yet no such effort was made by anyone on any part of the political spectrum.

Why are we surprised by so many crises and stumble into useless wars that do not support our national interests and gain us nothing? Why do we tend to act too late, why we are so often unprepared? Why does the most powerful national entity in recorded history consistently look like eight kinds of jackass on the international stage? The reason is simple: the U.S. lacks, and has always lacked, a grand strategy.

The concept of grand strategy is often overlooked. It is the strategy of the long term, the strategy of nations rather than armies, the strategy that sets the overall goals and tells everyday military and diplomatic strategy how to reach them. The most successful states possess a grand strategy worked out and tested over generations that protects the nation and pushes forward its interests. It is usually very simple and can be stated in sentence or perhaps two. The grand strategy of Rome was: keep the barbarians on the other side of the Rhine, the Parthians on the other side of the Euphrates. The grand strategy of the British Empire was: do not allow any single power to gain total control of Europe. Both empires maintained these strategies throughout their peak periods, Rome for close to four centuries, the British even longer, if we count the Anglo-French wars of the 13th and 14th centuries.

When at last the Romans gave up, and began letting in barbarian tribes as a reward for acting as allies, the end was plainly coming. The British held on until the last ditch, going into what amounted to national bankruptcy in the 20th century to twice prevent Germany from controlling Europe.


An American grand strategy is a necessity for this century. We could do without it during the splendid isolation of our early years, when the Monroe Doctrine was our sole strategic necessity. Our entry into world affairs with WWI was not accompanied by any reconsideration of national priorities in response to new strategic realities. We have spent much of the past century trying to skitter back into isolation rather than face up to our global responsibilities. After WWII we did have a strategy against the USSR – containment – but it was situational, not universally accepted, and failed when applied in other parts of the world.

A grand strategy will guarantee this country’s status into the 21st century and beyond. We need to consider what such a thing would look like – how it would serve our national interests, how it would utilize our technological advantages, how it would express the American character, American hopes, and American ideas.

Because the U.S. will be back. Our decline will not be permanent. Our enemies are deeply flawed and skating ever closer to the edge. Iran has an imploding population, a vanishing resource base, and a government of madmen (as the recently Quds Force assassination conspiracy reveals clearly enough). It will not be the same place in twenty years. China also faces a population crash thanks to its grotesque birth-control policies, centripetal tendencies involving abused minorities, and the inevitable showdown between political tyranny and economic freedom. The Russians will eventually learn the lesson of Al Capone: that blatant gangsterism will take you only so far. They are all facing problems the U.S. has already overcome or simply does not have.

We are demographically healthy, with an expanding but not exploding population. Our economy will return to full health once the mania for federal intervention is left behind. We will benefit from recent trade agreements that create a Greater American free-trade zone that encompasses every nation on the Pacific coast of the Americas, an 8,000-mile-long chain that is likely to become the richest trade bloc in the world32. Also acting in our favor is the beginning of a resource boom perhaps without parallel in our history. One example will suffice: the Marcellus Shale formation of the Northeast contains from 84 trillion to 410 trillion cubic feet of natural gas33. That’s trillion with a “t.” (It also contains billions of gallons of liquid natural gas and ethane.)That alone makes the U.S. the natural gas equivalent of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and Iran combined, and there’s more where that came from. We will begin to see the impact of our new resource base over the next twenty years, with full expression by mid-century.

It is not yet twilight for the United States. Our current drift is an interlude and not an epilogue. We are an old nation (with the second-oldest government on earth, behind the UK) but we are a young country. It is customary for the young to make mistakes, pick themselves up, and go on. We have made a lot of mistakes, but none of them are fatal. We are coming into our maturity, when we will do things differently. The American Century is dead and gone –bring on the American Millennium.

# # # # # # #


END NOTES


   1. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/10/xm25_astan_reports/

   2. http://www.qinetiq-na.com/products-maars.htm

   3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2bExqhhWRI

   4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAgY6uL4VQM

   5. www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwaD5-GlHXg

   6. http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/man/uswpns/air/rotary/v22osprey.html

   7. http://www.sikorsky.com/Innovation/Vision+of+the+future/Technologies/X2+Technology

   8. http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/TTO/Programs/Transformer/Transformer.aspx

   9. http://robots.net/article/2972.html

  10. http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/05/29/6743626-jetpack-soars-a-mile-high

  11. http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/ithacus.htm

  12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKPVQal851U

  13. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/18/AR2007011801029.html

  14. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13639_3-20003260-42.html

  15. http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2010-071400-3123-99

  16. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/world/middleeast/16stuxnet.html?_r=1

  17. www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/virus-hits-drone-fleet/

  18. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/drone-virus-kept-quiet/

  19. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14157975

  20. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/27/us-usa-defense-hackers-idUSTRE74Q6VY20110527

  21. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-02/google-s-discovery-of-attempted-gmail-hacking-prompts-u-s-investigation.html

  22. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/08/03/massive-global-cyberattack-targeting-us-un-discovered-experts-blame-china/

  23. http://money.cnn.com/2011/07/28/technology/government_hackers/index.htm

  24. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/28/cyworld_korea_megahack/

  25. http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/575780/201106171909/Is-China-US-Cyberwar-Inevitable-.htm

  26. www.mcafee.com/us/resources/.../rp-critical-infrastructure-protection.pdf

  27. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1455559/CIA-plot-led-to-huge-blast-in-Siberian-gas-pipeline.html

  28. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/07/28/v-print/118603/house-probes-policies-on-counterfeit.html

  29. http://www.infragard.net/

  30. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576355623135782718.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

  31. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20113-the-cyberweapon-that-could-take-down-the-internet.html

  32. http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=588075&p=1

  33. http://geology.com/usgs/marcellus-shale-assessment/

Copyright © 2011 by J.R. Dunn

J.R. Dunn is a novelist, editor, and political commentator active both in print and online. His SF novels include This Side of Judgment, Days of Cain, a powerful time travel novel dealing with the the Holocaust, and Full Tide of Night. He is the associate editor of The International Military Encyclopedia and is a contributing editor on military affairs to the American Thinker. His latest nonfiction book is Death by Liberlism, from Broadside.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.