Monday, September 18, 2006

Counterrevolution: Preparations

Thinking about the world situation today has me more than a little worried. With the current agitation re: the Pope's comments and continued anarchy and chaos in the third world, I think we now have to begin entertaining thoughts that radicals in the Islamic world and misunderstandings in the Western world may saber rattle all of us into outright war.

Some may say that the War on Terror is World War 3. Some say that the War on Terror is World War 4, and that the Cold War was World War 3. I think, if the world continues on its current path, that particular semantic argument will be absolutely put to rest by the sheer unimaginable horror an actual World War III.

What is true is that the chaos in the third world is increasing, and the ability to deal with that chaos is decreasing. An imbalance of power currently exists, and America has been unable to effectively apply her weight of influence as a leader.

So now that I've looked at this, I take what I know of military history and world history and being applying this knowledge to the current situation. It is an academic argument thread, to be sure, but one thing has always rung true about the lead ups to America's great wars: we were not prepared for them when they started.

Right now, America is not prepared for a conventional worldwide war. Luckily, we are more prepared than the next, like, eighteen nations, and we've proven time and time again that we can become prepared and adapt rather quickly.

Here are some things I think we need to begin thinking about in regards to our preparedness in dealing with the world situation:

1. World War is not inevitable. At the current time, we can still apply diplomacy, economics, culture and international police action in order to move away from the 'clash of civilizations' radical punditry seems to want us to engage in. The fuse is lit, to be sure, but it ain't made it to the poweder keg just yet.

2. Chaos in the Third World is the breeding ground for terrorism; religious strife is the result of this as well as the banner under which popular support is rallied. The West cannot physically take and hold the whole of the Third World by itself.

3. America is not prepared, materially or psychologically to fight either a conventional world war or an ideological struggle. Any way you cut it, American democracy is divided almost 50-50 on any direction (or non direction) this nation plans to take. Here are some bi-partisan concepts I think should be considered:

A. National Serivce. Military, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Education, Medicine, Infrastructure. Reinstate the draft and start folding folks into those six fields.

B. Business interests, especially international businesses, are subordinate to the interests of the American State. Alternative fuels, more efficient vehicles, and local sources of oil are strategic priorities at this point. Doing business with brutal regimes are strategic blunders.

C. Nation-states within our sphere of influence must be pressured to liberalize. modernize and strengthen. Somalia is bordered by two developing nations in Eithiopia and Kenya. The longer Somalia stays in chaos, the more chance that chaos will spread into Eithiopia and Kenya. The stronger Eithiopia and Kenya are, the more chance that modernization will spread into Somalia.

D. We must work with and lead International Organizations.

E. We must have far greater organization with our local disaster response programs. During any disaster: man made, natural or terrorist, first responders are going to be the boots on the ground at hour zero. First Aid, supply dumps, basic deputization training, and access to vehicles can save lives in the first minutes after everything goes wrong. Americans have proven a willingness to do this on their own. The government of the several states needs to find a way to empower, encourage and help organize such volunteerism.


RightOnPeachtree said...

Nice post.

As unpalatable as this is, I advocate continued research/readiness as it relates to our nuclear arsenal. If all hell breaks loose, that may be our best or only option (especially if we do get attacked by waves of dirty bombs -- as some are predicting).

I've been thinking lately about the cost/benefit of destroying (via carpet bombing or nukes) that "ungovernable" tribal region in Pakistan where Bin Laden and the other nasties are rumored to be holed up. Surely we have weapons that could rearrange the terrain and wipe out that radical corner of a radical country.

Likewise, if Iran decides to wipe (fill in blank) off the map, we have to have weapons that can destroy their capabilities in a comprehensive and permanent way.

If the kaka really hits the fan and we get pushed to the limit or get directly attacked in a big way, I would rather us overreact in terms of our weapons-based response than to bleed ourselves to death with ground forces and hundreds of billions of dollars in expenses.

And with the Muslim world jones-ing for a global war in which the world is forced to "convert or die" at the point of a sword (I feel stupid even repeating that idiocy), I just don't feel very good about where we're headed.

While not desiring it, I think that we have to be prepared for a worst-case scenario and be willing to turn these ignoramuses into dust if it comes to it.

As horrific and Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, they brought WWII to a screeching halt. I hope we don't have to repeat that, but it has to be an option that we retain.
These retards just might push us into such an action.

Patrick Armstrong said...


As far as nuclear weapons are concerned, I'd never advocate ending research/readiness, but as it stands currently our nuclear arsenal still retains the 'world ending' capability.

You don't get much more prepared than 'world ending capability.'

The most important aspect of that is not the tactical nuclear operation (problematic on so many levels), but the fact that we can end all life in a state actor (s) nation should they or their sponsored terrorist organizations cross certain lines.

Pakistan is definitively the most dangerous nation with or potentially with nuclear weapons. I consider them about 100 times more dangerous than a nuclear Iran.

RightOnPeachtree said...

I heard somewhere that some of our nuclear arsenal was degrading. I don't know that much about nukes, but we should keep a sufficient amount of them handy and fertile, just in case. And continuing to expand our anti-missile capabilities would be a good thing to do.

I disagree about Pakistan. I do think it's a huge problem, but Iran's elected president has threatened to wipe another country off the face of the earth. You can't get much more blatant than that and I can't imagine that Pakistan is 100 times more dangerous than that. We're just not hearing similar rhetoric from the leadership in Pakistan (although we are just one bloody coup away from that same situation there).

It does seem, though, that the population of Iran is friendlier towards the West. Pakistan's population -- well, let's just say that we shouldn't expect Christmas cards from them this year. Still, I think what matters most is the mentality of the folks who have their fingers on the trigger.

Patrick Armstrong said...

From what I understand, our nuclear stock is getting old, and any degredation that is happening comes with age. There is a push to test nuclear weapons, but designs shouldn't be terribly different from what they used to be. As far as I understand it, this also affects our silo based ICBM stocks moreso than those attached to nuclear submarines (currently the top of the line) and those nuclear weapons that can be loaded onto cruise missiles and bombers.

I'd much rather, from a strategic standpoint, see that maintenance costs affect the sub based and tactical delivery systems and perhaps further decrease our silo based ICBM capability to maintain efficiency in favor of a smaller number of silos and the more mobile and tactical systems of delivery.

I'm willing to believe that ABM technology is further along than any of us readily understand. That being said, the only enemies ABM technology currently affects are Security Council Pemanent Members. I am far more concerned about conventional delivery systems from rouge states, especially those in certain theatres of operation.

Re Iran & Pakistan: Despite all "The Beard"s bluster in Iran, the President of that nation has surprisingly little power when it comes to military matters. Those belong to the extremely rational (realpolitikally speaking) Supreme Council and Supreme Leader.

The fellas currently in control of Iran are abolutely vested in that nation's success - that success is threatened by irrational activity such as nuking Israel, not even so much because of our response, but because of Israel's (likely nuclear) response to such irrationality. Iranian development of a bomb is rational, in so much that Iran's closest regional rivals (Israel & Saudi Arabia) significantly outspend Iran militarily; the United States - Iran's primary international rival - tremendously outspends Iran militarily; and the Sunni Bomb has been developed in perhaps the most volatile Islamic state of Pakistan - one coup away from being a weapon held by Wahhabi Sunnis bend on killing Christians, Jews and Iranian Shia.

There is no doubt in my mind why Osama & his ilk can be found in Pakistan, and it has less to do with the fact that we can't get there easily and more to do that when that one coup comes to Pakistan, our worst enemy will have that bomb. We're so busy worrying about the 'civil war' in Iraq, that we've forgotten the civil war in Pakistan.