Sunday, August 29, 2010

Global War on American Prosperity

Remake the Middle East?  We can't even remake Detroit

Our major combat forces are out of Iraq, and we're ramping up in Afghanistan, hoping to make enough gains so we can disentagle ourselves from there as well.

James Antle asks if conservative are ready to say "To hell with the hawks."
However reluctant conservatives may be to question retroactively the justice of our Bush-era wars, many are beginning to wonder if our prolonged occupations and nation-building exercises are worth American blood and treasure.  (AmCon- Antle)

I agree.  We should continue to reserve the right to reach out and smack someone, but the endless wars will end up breaking us.

Beware People Beating War Drums Who Have Never Been to War

I long ago grew tired of the tinny war cries of the William Kristols and the Frank Gaffneys.  If they want to invade Iran (a terrible idea), they can go raise their own damned army and do it themselves.  That country has the most pro-American populace in the Middle East outside of Israel.  Killing them and breaking their stuff is a sure way to blow it.
“Nation-building is the most prominent — and most important — part of the neocon doctrine,” wrote Jed Babbin in the American Spectator. “And the decision to pursue it is the principal reason that we are losing in Afghanistan, Iraq is falling apart, and the real enemy — the terror-sponsoring nations — have grown stronger.”
Neocons are Neo-Wilsonian Progressives

Antle goes on to identify three foreign policy strains of American conservatism, "... Jeffersonians, the Wilsonians, and the Jacksonians."  Go read the whole article and you will see why invasions and nation-building are very un-conservative activities.

Less is More

Respected journalist and scholar Robert D. Kaplan points to the future of American Military intervention in his 2007 article, Unheralded Military Successes.  He specifically highlights our low-key successes in Colombia and The Phillipines.
... the missions in Colombia and the Philippines showcase low-cost, low-risk and tediously unspectacular counterinsurgency options. And these places are not alone. Other U.S. military deployments I have observed recently -- in Algeria, Mali, Niger, Kenya, Georgia and Nepal -- are variations in a minor key. What stands out about all of these missions is their small scale and implicit modesty. We are not in combat in any of these countries -- but, rather, training local militaries that are or might be.

In all these countries, our military aid is combined with civilian development assistance. This is the global war on terrorism as preventive rather than as proscriptive. It doesn't cost much. You could spread Green Beret teams across Africa for the price of one F-22 jet. If there is another model out there that will keep the U.S. military engaged without overextending it, and will help move along inter-agency cooperation, I have not seen it.

I believe what he says because I've seen it myself in Colombia as well as other Central and South American countries. With a little military assistance, we chased communism from Central America in the 1980's, and Kaplan relates how we trained Eastern Europeans in the 1990's, building friendships that paid dividends after 9/11.

What's the common theme in all of this?
Small footprint, inexpensive, culturally-sensitive operations that help people who are willing to help themselves.  We conservatives bristle at progressives who want to remake America, so why should we support such budget busting efforts in other countries?


hero said...

Salute dude! his is so right. Just maybe Obama could do better than the previous leaders. How I miss a peaceful and serene life :( Thanks for sharing.

Fredd said...

'Small footprint.' I like the concept, and all of the above does make sense.

I am wondering just exactly when we as a people decided that when we did go to war, we would do it kindly, and gently?

'Surgical strikes' take way, way, WAY too much time, effort, blood and treasure. And their effectiveness in the war is questionable, if not in the battle.

Silverfiddle said...

Thanks Hero. Learning to stay out of other people's business when they don't want our "help" should be a bi-partisan pursuit.

Fred: You've identified the problem of modern warfare. No more "Bombing of Dresden" events to break the will of a people.

If they force you to fight with one hand tied behind your back while standing on one leg, sometimes it's wiser to just stay out of the fight.

Meanwhile, there are people around the world who want our help. We should help them to help themselves.

WomanHonorThyself said...

Remake the Middle East? We can't even remake Detroit .yup!.love the post Silver..and yea let them take care of their ungrateful selves for once!

TKZ said...

Great read! I have high hopes for Iran. We have the opportunity to keep our noses in our own business until we're asked for help there, and I do believe the people will overthrow their tyrants when they are ready. The Declaration of Independence applies to them too.

Bastiatarian said...

>We conservatives bristle at progressives who want to remake America, so why should we support such budget busting efforts in other countries?

We shouldn't. If there is a real threat, boom, boom, boom, then go home. If cooperation with another country will bring substantial benefit to our national defense, then significantly limited cooperation is okay. Humanitarian efforts, etc., should be 100% limited to private organizations and individuals.

I have been a supporter of the military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but only insofar as they are directly related to making it impossible for the bad guys to hurt us. Nation-building is the job of the people of that nation. If they don't want it, then they can have their extinction.

Silverfiddle said...

I share your distinction on Iraq and Afghanistan. We're there, so we need to get it done right. But in the future, the bar should be very high for military action.

Sam Huntington said...

I never thought Afghanistan was a good idea; I think Iraq served as a magnet to Moslem extremists than enabled us to kill them in large numbers. I do agree with the central theme: small and lethal. It is how the Marines have organized themselves since the 1920s. They have something called the “Small Wars Manual.” I heard the Marine commandant mention it the other day during a press conference. We must have strategic and tactical patience —but on the other hand, I think once we commit to something large, we need to win it in record time.

Silverfiddle said...

I agree Sam. Winning in record time is becoming harder and harder in today's world of 24/7 news and those crying for that fictitious "humane" war.

Btw... You're not the famous social scientist of "Clash of Civilizations" fame writing from the great beyond, are you?

Always On Watch said...

In 2000, I voted for GWB because he came out against nation building. In fact, that issue was the deciding factor for me.

Now look at all the foreign entanglements we've gotten involved in since 9/11.

I don't believe that we can win on the ground in Afghanistan. It pains me to be typing in that sentence as my young cousin will be deployed there in December.

Silverfiddle said...

AOW: I agree with you. I think the best we can do is to restore some regional balance and hopefully chase AQ out and leave the local tribes to return to warring against one another.

Nation building is nothing but neocon progressivism on an international scale.

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