Strategy-free time

It’s a depressing truth, but at least someone has finally had the guts to admit it. The United States has no strategy for its war in Afghanistan, or as Defence Secretary James Mattis put it in testimony to the US Senate, it is a ‘strategy-free time’. Mattis promised to put a strategy together. ‘We are not winning in Afghanistan right now,’ he said, ‘And we will correct this as soon as possible.’

Forgive me if I’m sceptical. The United States hasn’t managed to come up with a winning strategy in the 16 years it has been fighting in Afghanistan. It beggars belief that Mattis has the solution up his sleeve. After all, he’s been part of the war since the beginning.

The United States lacks a workable strategy in Syria as well. Theoretically speaking, US support for rebel forces in Syria is justified by the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and is meant to help destroy ISIS. But because of recent advances by troops of the Syrian Arab Army (the official government forces), the rebels are no longer in physical contact with ISIS. As you can see from the map below, they couldn’t fight ISIS even if they wanted to.

Syrian_civil_war

You could argue that this is beside the point, and claim that the rebels aren’t meant to fight ISIS; rather, their purpose is to overthrow Assad. But this isn’t much of a strategy either, because it has quite obviously failed. Thus, the Americans are left supporting a bunch of people who can’t fight ISIS but who can’t defeat the government, and who are stuck in an ever-decreasing set of enclaves achieving nothing at all. Meanwhile, the government forces are fighting hard against ISIS in central Syria. Supporting rebellion against the government weakens its hand against ISIS, which is supposedly the Americans’ real enemy. It’s hard to see what purpose all this achieves.

The problem lies in a failure to clearly identify the enemy. The Americans can’t make up their minds if they’re fighting ISIS or Assad, so they end up fighting both. This makes any sort of success impossible. At the same time, America is also waging a sort of proxy war against Iran. This week the US Senate passed legislation increasing sanctions against Iran. Yet Iran is helping the Iraqi government fight ISIS. So, again, this doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Add to that the fact that the Trump administration is said to support the Gulf states’ blockade of Qatar, and you have another enemy on the list. But this enemy is supporting the same rebels in Syria as the United States. So, it’s an ally, while also being an enemy. And then there’s the war in Yemen, which is going nowhere. There the Americans are supporting the Saudis. Yet, many believe that it’s the Saudis who have been the main source of finance for Islamic terrorist organizations. Confused? You should be.

And, of course, there’s also Afghanistan. As ISIS retreats in Syria and Iraq, it is advancing in Afghanistan. Yesterday, ISIS captured Tora Bora, the mountain tunnel complex in which Osama bin Laden hid in 2001. ISIS didn’t take Tora Bora from the Afghan government, however; it seized it from the Taleban. ISIS and Taleban are fighting one another, and the former is making progress at the expense of the latter. But, if the Taleban are fighting ISIS, doesn’t that make them our friends?

Failure in this sort of situation is almost inevitable. Instead of picking a clearly identifiable enemy, the United States is fighting just about everybody without any particular logic.

If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you could say that this is all part of a cunning plan to spread chaos. This, however, ignores the fact that the costs in both blood and treasure are enormous and far outweigh any benefits the USA might theoretically derive from such chaos. It’s also pretty obvious that people like Mattis really want to win all these wars. Their problem is that they’ve got themselves deep into situations they don’t understand and can’t control, but they can’t extricate themselves without looking bad. So, they just keep digging themselves in deeper and spreading the list of enemies in the hope that they can find a solution by going in a different direction.

As I’ve mentioned before, the first principle of war is selection and maintenance of the aim. If Mattis wants a strategy, he needs to select and maintain a single, clear objective. So far, the United States hasn’t. It aims to defeat terrorism, to avoid the loss of face associated with the appearance of defeat, to maintain its status as regional hegemon, to overthrow regimes it doesn’t like, and to transform the Middle East into an oasis of liberal democracy. It tries to do all of these at the same time, despite the fact that the varying aims are often at cross-purposes with one another.

There is only aim which can justify military action – protecting the lives of one’s citizens. Military force should therefore be directed at those who might threaten those citizens, not at others, and even then only if it can be shown to be effective. That means if you fight anybody (and a good argument could be put forward for fighting nobody), then fight ISIS and what remains of Al Qaeda, but not Assad, not Iran, and not even the Taleban (who have never shown any great interest in carrying out terrorist operations overseas). Issues of national prestige, maintaining some mythical hegemony, and exporting democracy and human rights need to be forgotten.

What does that mean? Abandon support for the Syrian rebels, and join hands with Russia, Iran, and the Syrian and Iraqi governments in destroying ISIS. Pressure Saudi Arabia to end its war with Yemen, and work with the parties concerned to make peace. And make a serious effort to get a deal between the Taleban and the Afghan government, and if that fails, walk away.

That would be a strategy – and one which might actually achieve the aim. The odds of it happening, though, are next to zero. Consequently, the failures will continue to mount up.

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25 thoughts on “Strategy-free time”

  1. “You could argue that this is beside the point, and claim that the rebels aren’t meant to fight ISIS; rather, their purpose is to overthrow Assad. But this isn’t much of a strategy either, because it has quite obviously failed”.

    I would argue that it “isn’t much of a strategy” because it is wicked, inhumane, illegal, blatantly contrary to the UN Charter, aggressively deceitful, and disgustingly vile.

    The fact that it doesn’t work is a blessing, not a drawback.

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    1. Agree with you as regards the immorality of this policy, although I could quibble a bit with your last phrase, as one could argue that to wage war with no possibility of success is worse than waging it with some possibility – ‘reasonable chance of success’ is, after all, one of the criteria of just war theory.

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  2. ignores the fact that the costs in both blood and treasure are enormous and far outweigh any benefits the USA might theoretically derive from such chaos

    Is this true? I have the impression that military keynesianism plays a huge role in the US economy. Without it, the country would’ve experienced chronic recessions, and the unemployment rate would nearly double.

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    1. I don’t believe in military keynesianism – i.e. I don’t believe that spending money on defence boosts economic growth. See what I wrote on the subject here: http://www.cips-cepi.ca/2012/12/17/military-keynesianism-wrong-then-wrong-now/

      What can be said is that military keynesianism benefits a minority of industrial interests (albeit at the expense of the economy as a whole). If those interests have undue influence over policy makers, then their interests may encourage military investments and interventions.

      The fact that war serves the interests of a few doesn’t, though, mean that it has positive economic results for a country as a whole.

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      1. If you believe in keynesianism, then you have to believe in military keynesianism too. To increase aggregate demand, you can drop money from helicopters, pay people to dig and fill trenches, or build aircraft carriers.

        Within capitalist economic framework, on its own terms, all these actions can produce “positive economic results”. And of course militarism has an advantage over dig-and-fill in that it also produces major technological innovations that are then handed over to the private sector.

        You’re saying that it contradicts common sense, and that’s true too, but so do many other things: massive advertising industry, maintaining the ‘optimal’ level of unemployment, and so on. That’s just seeing the same thing from different angles…

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      2. Well, I’m not a Keynesian in the first place. But even if I were, I wouldn’t be in favour of military keynesianism because I’m fairly sure that the multiplier effect of spending on the military is lower than with other forms of spending. If you are wanting to stimulate the economy, there are much better ways of doing it, even from a Keynesian perspective.

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      3. Well, keynesianism is a popular theory. As for the multiplier, building civilian infrastructure might be more efficient, but military doesn’t seem too far behind: MIC is mostly domestic, it subsidizes high-profile domestic industries (like Boeing), and, like I said, it’s a common way to finance technological and scientific research (nuclear fission, computers, the internet, gps navigation, and on and on and on).

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      4. “Military Keynesianism” in its usual form is a bastardization of Keynesian theory. The point of Keynesian theory isn’t that aggregate demand should always be maximized, or even intentionally increased. The point is that aggregate demand should be at the level that equalizes actual output with the long-term potential output of the economy. This means that, in certain exceptional situations, it makes sense for the government to engage in stimulus spending to prop up aggregate demand when it’s weak. The key point is that this is ALWAYS a short-term strategy. It was never meant to be an excuse or justification for long term or permanent spending projects. In fact, the flip side of Keynesianism (that the government should intentionally act to reduce aggregate demand when the economy is doing well) is just as important. It therefore makes no sense to invoke Keynesian theory to justify permanent high levels of defense spending, or procurement contracts that stretch out over multiple years (as most modern procurement projects do). Not only does Keynesianism not demand “military Keynesianism”, it actually directly contradicts it.

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      5. “In fact, the flip side of Keynesianism (that the government should intentionally act to reduce aggregate demand when the economy is doing well) is just as important.”

        True. But when did it happen last time? Probably some time in the mid-nineties, and indeed military budget was much lower back then. Besides, they prefer a different mechanism for slowing the economy down – raising interest rates. They use the interest rates (lowering them) to boost the economy too, but in the last decade it was practically zero. Cut taxes for the upper class – you get a bubble; not too useful. Cut the military now, and you’ll get a real recession.

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      6. The American economy was in expansionary phases in the 1990’s, then again from 2001-08, and again now. In the 1990’s, military funding was cut, but not nearly in proportion to the expansion of the economy. In the 2001 to 08 period, military funding actually grew, and it’s growing again now. There’s no reason to believe the economy needed any stimulus in 2001-2007, or now. To engage in stimulative spending, on the other hand, while simultaneously raising interest rates to control the business cycle, flies in the face of the most elementary economic logic. That’s a textbook example of the crowding out effect, which kneecaps the effect of stimulus in the short-term, while reducing the economy’s long-term growth potential. In any case, there’s no reason to think that, absent excessive military spending, America would fall into a recession. Quite the contrary, since labour shortages are starting to develop in some sectors of the American economy, cuts to the military right now would most likely have the effect of freeing up resources that can be much more productively employed in the private sector. However, this would undoubtedly harm the specific players who benefit from military spending (defense contractors, owners of assets leased for military use, individuals with high-paying, but questionably necessary, jobs in the defense hierarchy, etc.), and this is the real source of the economically-based support for military spending. It has nothing to do with the economy as a whole. It’s about the interests of specific, well-connected individuals and groups.

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      7. “It’s about the interests of specific, well-connected individuals and groups.”

        Well, that’s obvious, we don’t need to argue here. On the other hand, there are well-connected individuals and groups in every industry: construction, agribusiness, automotive.

        “In any case, there’s no reason to think that, absent excessive military spending, America would fall into a recession.”

        I think there is. GDP growth has been around 2.5% for many years. Remove the military, and now it’s negative, year after year, for many years. Plus, as I mentioned, some civilian industries would’ve suffered as well: civil aircraft industry, for example. Plus, the arms export industries probably would not be able to compete, leading to further losses in jobs and higher budget and account deficits. Not good.

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      8. It’s true that there are various and diverse interest groups, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all equally powerful. In some countries, like the US and France, the arms industry has political weight to a much greater extent than other industries and interest groups.
        In terms of GDP growth, the idea that America’s GDP growth over the long-term would have been negative is completely unsustainable, for a number of reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, even on a Keynesian view, that’s not how stimulus spending works. Even on a Keynesian view, stimulus spending doesn’t increase the productive capacity of an economy. It only ensures that the full productive capacity is used when flaws in the money system mean that that doesn’t occur naturally. Again, though, this is only ever a short-term phenomenon. There’s no Keynesian explanation for how an economy could perform at below its potential output for decades at a time. If an economy is weak for decades, that’s a supply-side issue, which can’t be solved by stimulus, least of all by stimulus spending in an economically unproductive area like the military.
        Additionally, the math just doesn’t add up. To take the 2002-2007 period as an example, American economic growth averaged 2.8% per year. That’s between $500 billion and $700 billion extra in GDP every year over the year before. Meanwhile, increases in defense funding in those years were in the $10 billion to $30 billion per year range. To account for the additional GDP, the military spending would have to have had 0 crowding out effect and a multiplier of 25 to 50. No serious economist in the world would argue that any multiplier has ever been that high.
        It’s true that defense spending strengthens the American defense industry, and this has some benefits in terms of exports. But firstly, defense exports are a relatively small share of the American economy. Defense industrial policy is important to that industry and the people who work in it, but it’s a rounding error to the American economy as a whole. Also, spending on the military is mostly funded by taxes, which means that the benefits to one industry are bought at the expense of others. There’s no particular reason to think that the net effect of robbing Peter to pay Paul is positive. Additionally, benefits from net exports from the arms trade are largely offset by the basing costs of keeping soldiers in Qatar, South Korea, Japan and dozens of other countries, costs that result in money flowing directly out of the American economy with no direct compensating economic benefit.
        Finally, military Keynesianism in general has been studied, and there’s no evidence that it’s effective. Most famously, in 1990 Dunne and Smith did a well-known quantitative analysis of military expenditure and unemployment in various OECD countries, and found no correlation between the two. Specific examples are easy to find. In the post-WW2 era, countries with low military expenditure like Canada, Germany and Japan have quite often outperformed (both in terms of unemployment rates and in terms of GDP growth) countries with high military expenditure like the UK and France. In the short term, there’s not much evidence that military expenditure influences unemployment or short-term growth in either direction, but there’s a fair bit of evidence that, by diverting investment from more economically productive channels, military expenditure lowers an economy’s long-term potential growth.

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      9. Taking your last para:
        “Finally, military Keynesianism in general has been studied, and there’s no evidence that it’s effective…”, and then you talk about various countries.

        But the US is not like Germany. Germany is an export-based economy. Even internally, ordinary ways of demand-boosting may work well in Germany: give them some extra money and they are likely to buy domestically-produced goods (cars, etc) and help the economy, German economy.

        In the US, most items in your household are imported, which is why normal keynesianism will not work. It’ll create jobs in China, Korea, Mexico, but not the US. The ‘defense’ industry, on the other hand, tends to base their production facilities domestically, for obvious reasons. An acquaintance of mine worked, for decades, at a ‘defense’ factory in Massachusetts (of all places). He had a blue-collar job, rising from the lowest level to some well-paid blue-collar expert position. Retired recently. What other industry, in the US, could keep – and expand – this kind of facilities nowadays? In Massachusetts?

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      10. “Also, spending on the military is mostly funded by taxes, which means that the benefits to one industry are bought at the expense of others.”

        I don’t think it’s funded by taxes. The last time taxes were raised (in any significant way) was – what – 1993? I haven’t seen, in the last couple of decades, the US government reducing the amount of money, neither the monetary base nor the money supply. In fact, it’s been growing very rapidly. But, like I said in the previous comment, creating more money doesn’t help the US economy, because of its globalist nature. It helps China, and creates asset bubbles in the US.

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    2. Bingo–sowing chaos and whipping up more terrorism that will never touch the wealthy and powerful in their well protected enclaves keeps up public support for the out of control military-industrial complex. Starting in the last campaign, the Democrats have been trying to shift the fear mongering towrds Russia, but so far it isn’t really working.

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  3. “The Americans can’t make up their minds if they’re fighting ISIS or Assad, so they end up fighting both”.

    The Americans are actually fighting anyone who is Asian (or African, or South American) – except for the tiny handful who have vast amounts of money or oil, or who can promise Washington help in its evil plan to conquer the world.

    Whereas in the 1950s the panic was about “who lost China?” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_of_China, today it is “who lost Asia?” That continent, after all, was obviously intended by God for American ownership and exploitation – except, of course, for Greater Israel.

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  4. All this is kind of obvious and was obvious for a long time. Problem is that strategy and winning doesn’t matter for decision makers.

    As one American once said “the Games themselves are better than the race and the prize”.

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  5. If you add up all the various elements of the National Security State the US spends $1.2 trillion a year. If you include interest on the national debt, mostly the result of war and military spending, the “cost” is even greater. To add insult to injury, by law, Pentagon spending is required to be audited annually. The records are so lacking an audit has never been possible. Trillions in spending cannot be accounted for, yet no one complains because the beneficiaries of this spending have purchased the Congress and helped create an economy dependent on militarism and war.
    We are stuck with a war economy that is dividing and destroying our country. This is the worst situation imaginable because it means there’s a constant need for new enemies and more wars. The current hysteria about Russia is a reflection of the need for an “enemy” such as Russia to support huge weapons platforms.
    So, we continue with war and we continue spending outlandishly despite overwhelming evidence of inefficiency, waste, unaccountably, fraud, abuse, and outright failure.
    There is no organized opposition to either these wars or this wasteful spending. We could do a much better job of defending the country for a fraction of what we spend. This would allow us to transform our economy, rebuild our country and address pressing needs–but we are powerless to act. When will people wake up?

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  6. “Defence Secretary James Mattis put it in testimony to the US Senate, it is a ‘strategy-free time’.”

    Amazing! Double-speak is strong in this one! And the general American public will love this phrase. Why? Because it has “freedom” in it! How can it mean anything bad?!

    “If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you could say that this is all part of a cunning plan to spread chaos.”

    Well, d’uh! 8)

    “This, however, ignores the fact that the costs in both blood and treasure are enormous and far outweigh any benefits the USA might theoretically derive from such chaos.”

    This argument could be easily debunked in several moves.

    a) Cost in blood. The old adage is “The victory is measured in blood – yours and your enemies”. So far, the USA is “leading” by killing more people, than they are loosing by a gigantic margin. Whatever looses it do suffer – even in the form of (wait for it!) “blowback” terror attacks against itself and its, ah, “allies”, that’s all within frames of “acceptable loses”. No one really cares what happens to the “collateral damage”, sorry – native people of the lands democratized at the smart-bomb point by America. The Media machine works perfectly, telling the Enlightened Public ™ when to mourn, go full #JeSuis and accuse Russia of barbarity – and when ignore such blatant violations of everything possible as phosphorus bombs used routinely against Raqqa and Mosul.

    b) Cost in treasure. Money and resources spent in this war does not evaporate, or “burn” – they go into the pockets of the MIC, feeding its ravenous hunger to make more killy stuff. Besides – they still pay taxes and give lots of jobs in the USA. No sane country will “outsource” its attack/defense potential – especially if it claims the title of the world hegemon and “indispensible nation”.

    c) Benefits for the USA . Ah, but what is the USA these days? “We the People”? No. The Federal Government? Nah. Maybe – all those members of the big capital, without whom no one can ever hope to run for elections? They are fine. USA is bourgeois democracy – the so-called “big capital” really runs the show. The fact that the state spends taxpayers money like water is of no concern to them, if a portion of said spending ends up in their wallets and banks. And it is in their interest that this process will go as long as possible. For them war costs precious little – because they don’t approach it as a war. For them its “a business by different means, but with the same rules”

    Laws of the market dictate that the people to buy lots and lots of stuff. These folks are applying this pure market idea into the military sphere. Instead of cheap electronics which will break down in 1-2 years, thus requiring replacement, they deal in bullets, missiles, tanks and planes. Countries without industrial capacities to speak of, but with craploads of money will buy their stuff and spend it in wars, urging them to buy more and more stuff again and again. Why, pray tell me, the American MIC would need a decisive victory in that case?

    And there is nothing conspiratorial in that – that’s the laws of the Invisible Hand of the Market 😉

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    1. P.S.

      ***
      “Milo Minderbinder’s planes flew in from everywhere, the pursuit planes, bombers, and cargo ships streaming into Colonel Cathcart’s field with pilots at the controls who would do what they were told. The planes were decorated with flamboyant squadron emblems illustrating such laudable ideals as Courage, Might, Justice, Truth, Liberty, Love, Honor and Patriotism that were painted out at once by Milo’s mechanics with a double coat of flat white and replaced in garish purple with the stenciled name M amp; M ENTERPRISES, FINE FRUITS AND PRODUCE. The ‘M amp; M’ In ‘M amp; M ENTERPRISES’ stood for Milo amp; Minderbinder, and the amp; was inserted, Milo revealed candidly, to nullify any impression that the syndicate was a one-man operation. Planes arrived for Milo from airfields in Italy, North Africa and England, and from Air Transport Command stations in Liberia, Ascension Island, Cairo, and Karachi. Pursuit planes were traded for additional cargo ships or retained for emergency invoice duty and small-parcel service; trucks and tanks were procured from the ground forces and used for short-distance road hauling. Everybody had a share, and men got fat and moved about tamely with toothpicks in their greasy lips. Milo supervised the whole expanding operation by himself. Deep otter-brown lines of preoccupation etched themselves permanently into his careworn face and gave him a harried look of sobriety and mistrust. Everybody but Yossarian thought Milo was a jerk, first for volunteering for the job of mess officer and next for taking it so seriously. Yossarian also thought that Milo was a jerk; but he also knew that Milo was a genius.

      One day Milo flew away to England to pick up a load of Turkish halvah and came flying back from Madagascar leading four German bombers filled with yams, collards, mustard greens and black-eyed Georgia peas. Milo was dumbfounded when he stepped down to the ground and found a contingent of armed M.P.s waiting to imprison the German pilots and confiscate their planes. Confiscate! The mere word was anathema to him, and he stormed back and forth in excoriating condemnation, shaking a piercing finger of rebuke in the guilt-ridden faces of Colonel Cathcart, Colonel Korn and the poor battle-scarred captain with the submachine gun who commanded the M.P.s.

      “Is this Russia?” Milo assailed them incredulously at the top of his voice. “Confiscate?” he shrieked, as though he could not believe his own ears. “Since when is it the policy of the American government to confiscate the private property of its citizens? Shame on you! Shame on all of you for even thinking such a horrible thought.”

      “But Milo,” Major Danby interrupted timidly, “we’re at war with Germany, and those are German planes.”

      “They are no such thing!” Milo retorted furiously. “Those planes belong to the syndicate, and everybody has a share. Confiscate? How can you possibly confiscate your own private property? Confiscate, indeed! I’ve never heard anything so depraved in my whole life.”

      And sure enough, Milo was right, for when they looked, his mechanics had painted out the German swastikas on the wings, tails and fuselages with double coats of flat white and stenciled in the words M amp; M ENTERPRISES, FINE FRUITS AND PRODUCE. Right before their eyes he had transformed his syndicate into an international cartel.”

      Milo’s argosies of plenty now filled the air. Planes poured in from Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Sweden, Finland, Poland – from everywhere in Europe, in fact, but Russia, with whom Milo refused to do business. When everybody who was going to had signed up with M amp; M Enterprises, Fine Fruits and Produce, Milo created a wholly owned subsidiary, M amp; M Fancy Pastry, and obtained more airplanes and more money from the mess funds for scones and crumpets from the British Isles, prune and cheese Danish from Copenhagen éclairs, cream puffs, Napoleons and petits fours from Paris, Reims and Grenoble, Kugelhopf, pumpernickel and Pfefferkuchen from Berlin, Linzer and Dobos Torten from Vienna, Strudel from Hungary and baklava from Ankara… Milo purchased spot radio announcements on Axis Sally’s and Lord Haw Haw’s daily propaganda broadcasts from Berlin to keep things moving. Business boomed on every battlefront.”

      ***

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  7. The “mythical hegemony” may be a bit of a joke to many, but it is real enough for policymakers. If you listen to the think tankers out there, at least in their public statements, this concept is taken most seriously. You could even say it is central.

    The question of whether the hegemony is declining or is under threat can be debated of course, but the point is to make national decisions in order to maximize that admittedly elusive quantity. The straightforward meta-strategy is to (1) identify the other contenders, and (2) minimize their opportunities, and maintain the power to block them in the future.

    Lowest-common-denominator group understanding and group decision-making makes it unlikely that anything theory more subtle than that will be applied.

    The way to apply this to the troubles in the middle east and greater Islamic world is as follows. The Islamic world is simply not considered a “contender” in geopolitics – not on the level of US, EU, China, and depending on your point of view (economic/military), Japan and Russia. Therefore, whatever side effects your policy has on the Islamic world carry no weight on their own, apart from how they may potentially enable the “real” powers. Thus making enemies of a billion people doesn’t matter one bit. (And moreover, this is continually proved out as the side effects land on Europeans rather than Americans).

    Making a mess of Afghanistan or Syria is of no more concern than making a mess of a remote pacific island inhabited by a people with whom you do not trade and whose language you do not speak.

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  8. The US has no strategy in Afghanistan because it has no objective there. At least, no publicly stated objective. You can’t win if winning has no meaning. If we had declared war on Afghanistan, like we used to do, we would have declared victory long ago, made a treaty with the new government, and gone home. If we still had a military presence there, it would be like our other military presences around the world. We are no longer at war with Germany, even though we maintain a military presence there.

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  9. The apparent lack of a strategy is the strategy. Keep the pot boiling, don’t let any power of faction consolidate. Keep the U.S. military busy, always engaged. Use this to call the political tune domestically and in the EU. Keep Russia in reactive mode. Drain their burgeoning power. The U.S. doesn’t aim to ‘win’, they aim to keep any other party from ‘winning’. A long war of endless attrition.

    But Russia and China have the measure of this and keep advancing all the same. The EU though falls apart. The U.S. population deepens its disaffection with austerity/the surveillance state and we all await the Big One – when the debt bubbles finally collapse. Russia and China are positioning themselves to survive this. The U.S. will be shaken to pieces.

    Good, very good.

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