Author Topic: US Domination Making us Safer?  (Read 7216 times)

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Offline GO!!!

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US Domination Making us Safer?
« on: October 07, 2005, 23:27:32 »
I just finished reading Noam Chomsky's "Hegemony or Survival", and after considering the "heavy left foot" that he is in posession of, I was left asking myself a question.

Is the world a safer place due to US dominance in nearly all things, or is it more dangerous?

I have a number of compelling arguments to each proposition, but I am interested in the thoughts of the informed members of this site.

Fire away.

GO!!!
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Offline paracowboy

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2005, 23:57:12 »
I just finished reading Noam Chomsky
why not just smoke some crack, or hit yourself in the head with a 2x4? If you want to make yourself stupider, there are easier ways to go about it.
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Offline MikeH

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2005, 00:06:57 »
LOL :bullet:
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Offline Britney Spears

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2005, 00:28:18 »
Define "US domination in nearly all things". Do you mean military domination? Cultural? Economic? it can be argued that the US does not necesarily dominate any of those fields today.

Also, who is "us"?

I tried to slog through Hegemony, but gave up after the first few chapters. His writing just isn't..very..interesting....
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Offline GO!!!

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2005, 10:23:11 »
why not just smoke some crack, or hit yourself in the head with a 2x4? If you want to make yourself stupider, there are easier ways to go about it.

Just trying to expand my horizons a little more, and besides, no - one ever gained a full understanding of an issue by only studying one side of it.

If I'm going to argue intelligently with the lefties, I'll need at least a basic understanding of the premises of their arguments, in order to defeat them.

"Know your enemy as you know yourself, and you shall not fail to achieve victory" Sun Tzu

Britney

The domination I refer to is based primarily in the fields of defence and security, in reference to term "hyperpower" and the fact that several think tanks have now proclaimed that the US is invulnerable to military attack from any probable combination of foes, and that the threat the US does face is from asymetric and non - state actors (terrorists).

My question (rephrased)  is, does the US domination of military and security measures make the world a safer place?

In the "safer" category, the US has the ability (if not the will) to bring a stop to any current conflict it is not already involved in, with a combination of manipulation of the UN, economic penalties and massive military action.

The actions of the US, (even though they are inconsistant) as a "global policeman" who will police to pursue it's own interests and profit.

The loss of the opposing superpower (post 1991) means that there is no other state which can provoke nuclear war with the US.

The UN, although bumbling and not always effective, recieves 25% of it's funding from the US, and undoubtedly makes the world safer.

And finally, the US, unlike her allies in NATO or the UN will typically act, as opposed to talk in response to an issue, which as was demonstrated in the Balkans, can be effective in bringing both sides to the bargaining table (if only to achieve a shaky truce)

In the "more dangerous" category;

The strength of the US military has made conventional war against it nearly suicidal. This has led to a proliferation of state sponsored terrorist organisations to oppose US action - to the detriment of civilian populations in which they operate.

Low intensity conflicts (insurgencies, civil wars) affect more people in more adverse ways than the Cold War did.

The  aquisition of nuclear weapons is the only guarantor of negotiating from a position of power with the US, and not being invaded or coerced. (Compare N Korea and Iraq) This leads to nuclear proliferation.

Finally, the US will only (unsuprisingly) intervene in areas of interest to it. This means that areas of US interest are intensely controlled and influenced (middle east) while areas with nothing to offer the US (africa) are continually allowed to massacre each other, with token US and international commitments.

Thoughts?

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Offline paracowboy

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2005, 11:31:51 »
Just trying to expand my horizons a little more, and besides, no - one ever gained a full understanding of an issue by only studying one side of it.

If I'm going to argue intelligently with the lefties, I'll need at least a basic understanding of the premises of their arguments, in order to defeat them.

"Know your enemy as you know yourself, and you shall not fail to achieve victory" Sun Tzu

I know, buddy. But ya gotta admit, that was funny!

Quote
My question (rephrased)  is, does the US domination of military and security measures make the world a safer place?
I think here, we have to ask "Safer for whom?" (Who? Whom?) As you point out, it is undoubtedly safer for 'nations' as such, at least those with whom (Who? Whom?) the US has a vested interest. BUt not so much for those nations that have nothing to offer America. And it certainly makes the world less safe for the average citizen in a country dealing with a low-intensity conflict. As well, when dealing with an unfriendly nation, there are any number of methods not involving open conflict. When dealing with terrorists/bandits/'freedom fighters'/what-have-you, the battles are often brought to the streets of cities in countries not afilitaed with the 'conflict-in-question'.

In short, I think the answer is a "yes and no". Maybe a "Yes with a but," and a "No with an except for." There really are no simple answers in today's world. Oh, for the "good old days" when the sneaky commies were the enemy and everyone (except Trudeau) knew it, eh?
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2005, 01:58:32 »
All one has to do is to look at the alternatives that have cropped up in the last century or so - better the US than Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or a petro-Caliphate extorting the West.

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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2005, 21:33:19 »
Gosh, I always felt safer knowing we were one misunderstood diplomatic gesture, military exercise, cultural insult, or alerting system glitch away from total war against the Soviet Empire.  I miss the quiet assurance of two nations equally equipped to initiate MAD and competing directly or by proxy over every inch of the globe to find just the right hair trigger.  This current situation in which so much more escalation is required makes me lament the loss of imminency.
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Offline paracowboy

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2005, 00:06:48 »
Gosh, I always felt safer knowing we were one misunderstood diplomatic gesture, military exercise, cultural insult, or alerting system glitch away from total war against the Soviet Empire.   I miss the quiet assurance of two nations equally equipped to initiate MAD and competing directly or by proxy over every inch of the globe to find just the right hair trigger.   This current situation in which so much more escalation is required makes me lament the loss of imminency.
was that aimed at me? If so, dude, lighten up. It's humour. I do a lot of that. Catch my show nightly.
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Online tomahawk6

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2005, 11:14:13 »
Do you feel safer ?

Offline CBH99

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2005, 12:13:17 »
Actually S_Baker, thats a good thought.  Getting some of the middle weight powers, such as Canada and various EU countries together to do something unilaterally about Africa might be more productive than waiting for the world as a whole to finally step in and undertake such a collosal task.  However, I have a feeling US dollars to help fund various initiatives would be required.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2005, 13:22:06 »
Actually S_Baker, thats a good thought.   Getting some of the middle weight powers, such as Canada and various EU countries together to do something unilaterally about Africa might be more productive than waiting for the world as a whole to finally step in and undertake such a ccolossaltask.   However, I have a feeling US dollars to help fund various initiatives would be required.

The middle weight powers are just as motivated by self interest as the super (or hyper) powers. France was for the "Oil for Food" program and against regime change in Iraq for reasons that have little to do with diplomacy and international law but a lot to do with kick backs and lucrative multi-billion dollar loans and oil deals. China and the EU seem to have a similar interest in the Dafar region of the Sudan (i.e. none at all for the inhabitants) for similar reasons (you know, it's the crude, dude).

Canada is perhaps the world leader in rhetorical flourishes, but since we have a great deal of difficulty in figuring out what the National Interest is at home, it is pretty hard to undertake foreign adventures to support our National Interest. If African countries and companies were to get involved in the Sponsorship program, I'm sure there would be a lot more interest and action out of Ottawa <cynical observation off>
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2005, 18:50:33 »
>was that aimed at me?

No, it was a response to the topical question.  Of course, one may argue that it isn't US domination that makes me feel safer, but rather the contraction of the USSR (US domination being a side effect).
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Offline paracowboy

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2005, 19:05:31 »
No, it was a response to the topical question.   Of course, one may argue that it isn't US domination that makes me feel safer, but rather the contraction of the USSR (US domination being a side effect).
that's a good point but, there's a flip side to it as well. With the collapse of the Soviet state, we entered the new world of small, but increasingly violent low-scale conflicts. The Soviet's collapse led to the breakaway states, which led to cleansing and other horrors. With the reins taken off by their Soviet masters, the various terrorist groups got right out of control. With no need to keep an eye on the Soviets in Africa and various other 3rd world areas, the West got complacent, and the mad dogs ran amock. Now, with the former Socialist Republics completely out of control, we have even more fears of being nuked. Not by a monolithic Bear, but by a small band of fanatics with a warhead purchased or stolen in Gerblakastan.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2005, 23:38:08 »
The current situation is actually similar to most of history. The confrontation between the West and Radical Islam is probably akin to the 30 years war (and yes, it will probably last that long), while the stand off between the Western Democracies and Socialism lasted about 70 years, punctuated with small actions (the Russian Civil War, the Russio Polish war, WWII [West vs National Socialism], Korea, Viet-Nam, etc.)

We are in a privilaged situation, being right next door to the social, political and military heart of the Western powers. If you were living in southern Gaul during the height of the Roman Empire, you might hear about actions on the frontiers, but not unduly worried about them. We are in the same situation, except the barbarians have much faster access to us than ever before....
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 Glorified Ape

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2005, 05:04:16 »
I think there's some legitimacy to hegemonic stability theory but as many have pointed out, the "us" is really what determines the response. I think paracowboy was right to say "yes and no" since, in many aspects, the world is more stable than before but with US military hegemony (economic is dwindling quickly and one might wonder if it still exists) comes the fact that the actions of one very unpredictable and, presently in my opinion, overly aggressive nation can wreak substantial havoc with the rest of the world by virtue of its position - the old "elephant in the bed" thing. I don't think the US imposes the kind of order in the world that many attribute to it, though. There's quite a bit of nastiness that goes on without the US' involvement or concern.

The big change, I believe, is in the fact that military strength is mattering less and less as economic strength becomes more important. Wars generally aren't profitable and they're becoming even more expensive as the internationalization of markets brings the economic turmoil that they cause closer and closer to home.
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2005, 05:49:11 »
I think there's some legitimacy to hegemonic stability theory but as many have pointed out, the "us" is really what determines the response.

Sure, and being a realist who believes in the dog-eat-dog world, only one "us" really matters to me.   Something about the bones of a Pomeranian grenadier comes to mind....

Quote
I think paracowboy was right to say "yes and no" since, in many aspects, the world is more stable than before but with US military hegemony (economic is dwindling quickly and one might wonder if it still exists) comes the fact that the actions of one very unpredictable and, presently in my opinion, overly aggressive nation can wreak substantial havoc with the rest of the world by virtue of its position - the old "elephant in the bed" thing. I don't think the US imposes the kind of order in the world that many attribute to it, though. There's quite a bit of nastiness that goes on without the US' involvement or concern.

Agree - but as I said before, power abhors a vacuum and in my view, "us" is better off with what has panned out as opposed to the alternatives the last century has offered.   Wouldn't you agree?

Quote
The big change, I believe, is in the fact that military strength is mattering less and less as economic strength becomes more important. Wars generally aren't profitable and they're becoming even more expensive as the internationalization of markets brings the economic turmoil that they cause closer and closer to home.

We're assuming that those who fight do so for economic reasons and that capability is measured by such "conventional" units such as military capacity and economic might.   Perhaps this is the "4th Generation" enthusiast speaking out, but today we are seeing what is argueably the most potent military machine on the planet having a tough time grappling with forces that have neither the economic or military strength nor care much for the profitability of the conflicts they pursue..   This isn't the first time and I will bet it won't be the last.   Perhaps the mighty Triad of Military, State and People backed by such temporal measurements of capability such as industry and economy is an aberration in history rather than the norm; at least, looking at 6,000 years of fighting, it can be said to ebb and flow with an opposite(s).

Certainly, our militaries in the West still focus on " military capacity" and "economic might" that unscore the Triad, but is it the right way to look?   During my visit to the AUSA convention, I noticed that of the hundreds of kiosks on the convention floor, I'd venture nearly half revolved around some form of information technology - computers, interface modules, programming, etc, etc.   However, I only bumped into one little kiosk, tucked away in the corner, that dealt with foreign language and culture training.  Add to this a few kiosks focusing on some sort of education, and you can see that Western militaries still remain quite inverted in their outlook.   If those like Van Crevald, who argue that the Triad is failing or has already failed, are on to something, then this facination with may kick us in the butt down the road....
« Last Edit: October 13, 2005, 06:22:51 by Infanteer »
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Offline Zarathustra

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2005, 07:33:41 »
I just finish reading Future: Tense by Gwynne Dyer. It's mostly on the subject of US domination. Basically he's saying that if the US work with the rest of the world, thing will be calm and their will be few conflict in the future. Only little things like Al-Qaida. On the other hand, if they work alone (Iraq, No Kyoto, etc), the other countries will get scared/jealous and they will work together to counterweight the US strength. Think of France, Germany, Russia. Add to this the rise of China and India and you could have much instability and a new cold war. (Or real war, but with nukes it's dangerous...)

He also think that Iraq wasn't invaded because it had weapons of mass destruction. It was invaded because it had none to defend itself with. So the message to middle size state is to get some, nukes if you can, asap. Think of Iran.

It's an interesting book. Makes you think. I would agree with him the  US hegemony will not last. Where will be China 25 years from now ?
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Offline paracowboy

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2005, 11:02:41 »
I just finish reading Future: Tense by Gwynne Dyer.
well, you'll never get that wasted time back, but maybe you can get your money back.
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Offline Zarathustra

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2005, 11:26:19 »
I was expecting this. Why do you guys dislike him ?
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Offline paracowboy

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2005, 11:56:42 »
personally, I don't dislike him. In fact, I have a great deal of respect for him on many levels (his service in the navies of 3 different nations alone, earns him that much, never mind his education and his extensive travel in search of furthering that education). But, he's been proven consistently wrong ever since his earliest writings on nuclear proliferation (we were facing complete and total obliteration unless we immediately disarmed all nuclar weapons), and he's doing no better today. Dude's just flat-out wrong.
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Offline Zarathustra

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2005, 12:18:58 »
Well predicting the future isn't easy and I think most people who getting it right do it more through luck than anything else. With so many people doing predictions they can't all get it wrong. And one could argue that those predictions aren't that useful since the future is going to happen anyway whether you predicted it or not. But as a hobby it's fun.

So back on the subject, I think that the US domination will be reduced in the next century. And I think that having lost their common enemy Europe and America are going to move more on competition and less on cooperation. Unless their find a new common threat. So on that I would agree with Dyer.

We'll see.
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Offline paracowboy

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2005, 12:26:23 »
Well predicting the future isn't easy and I think most people who getting it right do it more through luck than anything else.
granted, but he's made a habit of being wrong. In fact, he seems to excel at it. He ahs this bizarre idea that the West would be better off dealing from positions of weakness: nuclear disarmament would lead to the Soviets doing the same; Canada should withdraw from NATO; I could go on, but he lost my interest and faith years ago.

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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2005, 13:17:34 »
>The Soviet's collapse led to the breakaway states

In the case of the Balkans, it was the collapse of Tito's Yugoslavia.  I can't really speak to any other failed states/regions, but the fact some fell to pieces is sort of irrelevant when one looks at the whole picture: Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, etc.  Keeping all those nations under the iron thumb of Russia was not and can never be excused by "well, at least we had order".
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Offline Glorified Ape

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Re: US Domination Making us Safer?
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2005, 14:46:18 »
Sure, and being a realist who believes in the dog-eat-dog world, only one "us" really matters to me.   Something about the bones of a Pomeranian grenadier comes to mind....

I don't think any one perspective really explains IR properly. Realism is almost fanatical in its cynicism and attribution of all things to self-interested, security obsessed states. The whole "decline of the state" thing kind of kicked realism in the crotch and I'm not sure its ever recovered.

Quote
Agree - but as I said before, power abhors a vacuum and in my view, "us" is better off with what has panned out as opposed to the alternatives the last century has offered.   Wouldn't you agree?

Of course, if for no other reason than I'd be lynched if I didn't.  ;D

Quote
We're assuming that those who fight do so for economic reasons and that capability is measured by such "conventional" units such as military capacity and economic might.   Perhaps this is the "4th Generation" enthusiast speaking out, but today we are seeing what is argueably the most potent military machine on the planet having a tough time grappling with forces that have neither the economic or military strength nor care much for the profitability of the conflicts they pursue..   This isn't the first time and I will bet it won't be the last.   Perhaps the mighty Triad of Military, State and People backed by such temporal measurements of capability such as industry and economy is an aberration in history rather than the norm; at least, looking at 6,000 years of fighting, it can be said to ebb and flow with an opposite(s).

I think force in general is becoming increasingly less effective and self-punitive. Conventional military capability matters little if one considers the economic damage its use brings. Invading Iraq did little but upset international markets and drive the price of oil through the roof. Thanks alot. I disagree that actors such as the insurgents or AQ don't care about the profitability of their conflicts - I think it's quite the opposite but that profits and costs are viewed by them as another tool to hurt - IE I agree that they likely don't consider their own costs or profits but the US' costs and profits matter to them significantly, generally insofar as they can increase the former and decrease the latter. OBL made no secret of his desire to upset the US (and world) economy with 9/11.

Quote
Certainly, our militaries in the West still focus on " military capacity" and "economic might" that unscore the Triad, but is it the right way to look?   During my visit to the AUSA convention, I noticed that of the hundreds of kiosks on the convention floor, I'd venture nearly half revolved around some form of information technology - computers, interface modules, programming, etc, etc.   However, I only bumped into one little kiosk, tucked away in the corner, that dealt with foreign language and culture training.   Add to this a few kiosks focusing on some sort of education, and you can see that Western militaries still remain quite inverted in their outlook.   If those like Van Crevald, who argue that the Triad is failing or has already failed, are on to something, then this facination with may kick us in the butt down the road....

I don't think there's ever been any doubt that Western armies are technology-obsessed, often to the neglect of their institutional intellect. That being said, you can't really blame them since they're a product of conflicts wherein technology played a substantial determinant. The "swat-the-fly-with-a-sledgehammer" approach isn't working (if it ever really has). It doesn't seem the coalition has read much on insurgency, or they'd know that smashing an entire city (Falluja) has more undesirable consequences than it's worth. This just illustrates the fact that nuance and actual understanding of what the hell is going on, who's doing it, and why is becoming more important than being able to atomize 10 square blocks on a whim. To achieve the latter, you need a different perspective and a better educated leadership, both political and military. Of course, that would require big changes and we all know how much the military loves embracing change.  :D

Bureaucracy is hell.