Author Topic: Grand Strategy for a Divided America  (Read 198832 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #625 on: November 10, 2016, 15:13:50 »
How about this?

DEW Line and Nuclear Bomarcs bought Canada the Autopact.

The North Warning system bought Canada the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement

It seems likely that our NATO/NORAD premiums on NAFTA are due.
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline jollyjacktar

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #626 on: November 10, 2016, 15:32:50 »
Sooooo, F35's?
I'm just like the CAF, I seem to have retention issues.

Offline Jed

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #627 on: November 10, 2016, 15:40:58 »
We better sort out our Defense in the North.
As the old man used to say: " I used to be a coyote, but I'm alright nooooOOOOWWW!"

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #628 on: November 10, 2016, 20:21:28 »
Sooooo, F35's?

Preferably bought with money earned from selling coal, oil and gas to China.
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline QV

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #629 on: November 10, 2016, 22:06:24 »
I couldn't agree more with your assessment CP.

If our own government can't (won't) kick start our economy and properly fund/equip our military here's hoping a Trump administration compels them to. 

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #630 on: November 11, 2016, 16:36:59 »
Henry Kissinger, interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic.

"The president should ask, “What are we trying to achieve, even if we must pursue it alone?” and “What are we trying to prevent, even if we must combat it alone?” The answers to these questions are the indispensable aspects of our foreign policy, which ought to form the basis of our strategic decisions."

"I would begin by saying that we have to have faith in ourselves. That is an absolute requirement. We can’t reduce policy to a series of purely tactical decisions or self-recriminations. The fundamental strategic question is: What is it that we will not permit, no matter how it happens, no matter how legitimate it looks?"

"And a second question is: What are we trying to achieve? We don’t want Asia or Europe to fall under the domination of a single hostile country. Or the Middle East. But if avoiding that is our goal, we have to define hostility. According to my own thinking about Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, it is not in our interest that any of them fall under domination."
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #631 on: November 11, 2016, 16:50:37 »
Henry Kissinger, interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic.

"The president should ask, “What are we trying to achieve, even if we must pursue it alone?” and “What are we trying to prevent, even if we must combat it alone?” The answers to these questions are the indispensable aspects of our foreign policy, which ought to form the basis of our strategic decisions."

"I would begin by saying that we have to have faith in ourselves. That is an absolute requirement. We can’t reduce policy to a series of purely tactical decisions or self-recriminations. The fundamental strategic question is: What is it that we will not permit, no matter how it happens, no matter how legitimate it looks?"

"And a second question is: What are we trying to achieve? We don’t want Asia or Europe to fall under the domination of a single hostile country. Or the Middle East. But if avoiding that is our goal, we have to define hostility. According to my own thinking about Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, it is not in our interest that any of them fall under domination."

To me that suggests supporting the local, the parochial, the national over the hegemon.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #632 on: November 11, 2016, 17:05:38 »
Henry Kissinger, interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic.

"The president should ask, “What are we trying to achieve, even if we must pursue it alone?” and “What are we trying to prevent, even if we must combat it alone?” The answers to these questions are the indispensable aspects of our foreign policy, which ought to form the basis of our strategic decisions."

"I would begin by saying that we have to have faith in ourselves. That is an absolute requirement. We can’t reduce policy to a series of purely tactical decisions or self-recriminations. The fundamental strategic question is: What is it that we will not permit, no matter how it happens, no matter how legitimate it looks?"

"And a second question is: What are we trying to achieve? We don’t want Asia or Europe to fall under the domination of a single hostile country. Or the Middle East. But if avoiding that is our goal, we have to define hostility. According to my own thinking about Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, it is not in our interest that any of them fall under domination."

That is the traditional American Grand Strategy. Of course it has also been the British Grand Strategy, arguably since the time of Elizabeth 1. I could even suggest this is the proper Grand Strategy of any Maritime power, of which the United States is the largest and greatest.

As for Canada and NATO, while the President Elect wants us to do our share (i.e 2% GDP defense spending), I think there will be a series of carrots and sticks. If Canada fails to ante up, the NAFTA dues are certainly one thing on the table, but other bilateral agreements can also be placed on the table as well. And since the US may well start advancing their program on missile defense given the growing and evolving threat, we should not be surprised to discover intercept zones existing over our land mass if we demonstrate we are not serious about sharing the burdens of continental defense.
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 #633 on: November 24, 2016, 12:25:48 »
A bit of historical background as to where a lot of the problems began. It is interesting the sort of people wo create and support these programs to destroy the United States are nevertheless unwilling to leave the embrace of the largest and most successful free market economy in human history for true Socialist paradises like the DPRK, or perhaps China or Cambodia in the more recent past. Funny, that.

(Part 1)

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=7522

Quote
CLOWARD-PIVEN STRATEGY (CPS)
Strategy for forcing political change through orchestrated crisis

See also:  Frances Fox Piven   Saul Alinsky   George Wiley
ACORN   Motor Voter Law   National Welfare Rights Organization

First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and his wife Frances Fox Piven (both longtime members of the Democratic Socialists of America, where Piven today is an honorary chair), the "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article titled "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called "crisis strategy" or "Cloward-Piven Strategy," as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.

In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when "the rest of society is afraid of them," Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would "the rest of society" accept their demands.

The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven's early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. "Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1971 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system's failure to "live up" to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist "rule book" with a socialist one.

The authors noted that the number of Americans subsisting on welfare -- about 8 million, at the time -- probably represented less than half the number who were technically eligible for full benefits. They proposed a "massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls."  Cloward and Piven calculated that persuading even a fraction of potential welfare recipients to demand their entitlements would bankrupt the system. The result, they predicted, would be "a profound financial and political crisis" that would unleash "powerful forces … for major economic reform at the national level."

Their article called for "cadres of aggressive organizers" to use "demonstrations to create a climate of militancy." Intimidated by threats of black violence, politicians would appeal to the federal government for help. Carefully orchestrated media campaigns, carried out by friendly, leftwing journalists, would float the idea of "a federal program of income redistribution," in the form of a guaranteed living income for all -- working and non-working people alike. Local officials would clutch at this idea like drowning men to a lifeline. They would apply pressure on Washington to implement it. With every major city erupting into chaos, Washington would have to act.

This was an example of what are commonly called Trojan Horse movements -- mass movements whose outward purpose seems to be providing material help to the downtrodden, but whose real objective is to draft poor people into service as revolutionary foot soldiers; to mobilize poor people en masse to overwhelm government agencies with a flood of demands beyond the capacity of those agencies to meet. The flood of demands was calculated to break the budget, jam the bureaucratic gears into gridlock, and bring the system crashing down. Fear, turmoil, violence and economic collapse would accompany such a breakdown -- providing perfect conditions for fostering radical change. That was the theory.

Cloward and Piven recruited a militant black organizer named George Wiley to lead their new movement. The three met in January 1966, at a radical organizers' meeting in Syracuse, New York called the “Poor People's War Council on Poverty.” Wiley listened to the Cloward-Piven plan with interest. That same month, he launched his own activist group, the Poverty Rights Action Center, headquartered in Washington DC. In a calculated show of militancy, he sported dashikis, jeans, battered shoes, and a newly grown Afro. Regarding the Cloward-Piven strategy, Wiley told one audience:

“[A] a lot of us have been hampered in our thinking about the potential here by our own middle-class backgrounds – and I think most activists basically come out of middle-class backgrounds – and were oriented toward people having to work, and that we have to get as many people as possible off the welfare rolls.... [However] I think that this [Cloward-Piven] strategy is going to catch on and be very important in the time ahead.”

After a series of mass marches and rallies by welfare recipients in June 1966, Wiley declared “the birth of a movement” – the Welfare Rights Movement.

Cloward and Piven publicly outlined their strategy at the Second Annual Socialist Scholars Conference, held in September 1966 at New York City's Hotel Commodore. To read an eyewitness account of their presentation, click here.

In the summer of 1967, Ralph Wiley founded the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). His tactics closely followed the recommendations set out in Cloward and Piven's article. His followers invaded welfare offices across the United States -- often violently -- bullying social workers and loudly demanding every penny to which the law "entitled" them. By 1969, NWRO claimed a dues-paying membership of 22,500 families, with 523 chapters across the nation.

Regarding Wiley's tactics, The New York Times commented on September 27, 1970, "There have been sit-ins in legislative chambers, including a United States Senate committee hearing, mass demonstrations of several thousand welfare recipients, school boycotts, picket lines, mounted police, tear gas, arrests - and, on occasion, rock-throwing, smashed glass doors, overturned desks, scattered papers and ripped-out phones."

These methods proved effective. "The flooding succeeded beyond Wiley's wildest dreams," wrote Sol Stern in the City Journal. "From 1965 to 1974, the number of households on welfare soared from 4.3 million to 10.8 million, despite mostly flush economic times. By the early 1970s, one person was on the welfare rolls in New York City for every two working in the city's private economy."

The National Welfare Rights Organization pushed for a “guaranteed living income,” as prescribed by Cloward and Piven, which it defined, in 1968, as $5,500 per year for every American family with four children. The following year the NWRO raised its demand to $6,500. Though Wiley never made headway with his demand for a living income, the tens of billions of dollars in welfare entitlements that he and his followers managed to squeeze from state and local governments came very close to sinking the economy, just as Cloward and Piven had predicted.

In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven had given special attention to New York City, whose masses of urban poor, leftist intelligentsia and free-spending politicians rendered it uniquely vulnerable to the strategy they proposed. At the time, NYC welfare agencies were paying about $20 million per year in “special grants.” Cloward and Piven estimated that they could “multiply these expenditures tenfold or more,” draining an additional $180 million annually from the city coffers.

New York City's arch-liberal mayor John Lindsay, newly elected in November 1966, capitulated to Wiley's every demand. An appeaser by nature, Lindsay sought to calm racial tensions by taking “walking tours” through Harlem, Bedford Stuyvesant, and other troubled areas of the city. This made for good photo-ops, but failed to mollify Wiley's cadres and the masses they mobilized, who wanted cash. “The violence of the [welfare rights] movement was frightening,” recalls Lindsay budget aid Charles Morris. Black militants laid siege to City Hall, bearing signs saying “No Money, No Peace.”

Lindsay answered these provocations with ever-more-generous programs of appeasement in the form of welfare dollars. New York's welfare rolls had been growing by 12% per year already before Lindsay took office. The rate jumped to 50% annually in 1966. During Lindsay's first term of office, welfare spending in New York City more than doubled, from $400 million to $1 billion annually. Outlays for the poor consumed 28% of the city's budget by 1970. “By the early 1970s, one person was on the welfare rolls in New York City for every two working in the city's private economy,” Sol Stern wrote in the City Journal.

As a direct result of its massive welfare spending, New York City was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1975. The entire state of New York nearly went down with it. The Cloward-Piven strategy had proved its effectiveness.

Crucial to Wiley's success was the cooperation of radical sympathizers inside the federal government, who supplied Wiley's movement with grants, training, and logistical assistance, channeled through federal War on Poverty programs such as VISTA's.

The Cloward-Piven strategy depended on surprise. Once society recovered from the initial shock, the backlash began. New York's welfare crisis horrified America, giving rise to a reform movement which culminated in "the end of welfare as we know it" -- the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which imposed time limits on federal welfare, along with strict eligibility and work requirements.

Most Americans to this day have never heard of Cloward and Piven. But New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted to expose them in the late 1990s. As his drive for welfare reform gained momentum, Giuliani accused the militant scholars by name, citing their 1966 manifesto as evidence that they had engaged in deliberate economic sabotage. "This wasn't an accident," Giuliani charged in a July 20, 1998 speech. "It wasn't an atmospheric thing, it wasn't supernatural. This is the result of policies and programs designed to have the maximum number of people get on welfare."
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 #634 on: November 24, 2016, 12:26:20 »
Part 2

Quote
In a January 2011 article in the Nation magazine, Frances Fox Piven would reflect upon the elements that had helped make the welfare-rights movement successful in the 1960s:

"efore people can mobilize for collective action, they have to develop a proud and angry identity and a set of claims that go with that identity. They have to go from being hurt and ashamed to being angry and indignant. Welfare moms in the 1960s did this by naming themselves 'mothers' instead of 'recipients,'"

In the same 2011 article, Piven noted that "protesters need targets, preferably local and accessible ones capable of making some kind of response to angry demands."

After the welfare-rights movement had run its course by the mid-1970s, Cloward and Piven never again revealed their intentions as candidly as they had in their 1966 article. Even so, their activism in subsequent years continued to rely on the tactic of overloading the system. When the public caught on to their welfare scheme, Cloward and Piven simply moved on, applying pressure to other sectors of the bureaucracy, wherever they detected weakness.

In 1982, partisans of the Cloward-Piven strategy founded a new "Voting Rights Movement," which purported to take up the unfinished work of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Cloward and Piven despised America's electoral system every bit as much as they despised its welfare system, and for much the same reason. They believed that welfare checks and voting rights were mere bones tossed to the poor to keep them docile. The poor did not need welfare checks and ballots, they argued. The poor needed revolution.

In their 1977 book, Poor People's Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail, Cloward and Piven asserted that the “electoral process” actually served the interests of the ruling classes, providing a safety valve to drain away the anger of the poor. The authors wrote that “as long as lower-class groups abided by the norms governing the electoral–representative system, they would have little influence.… t is usually when unrest among the lower classes breaks out of the confines of electoral procedures that the poor may have some influence,” as when poor people engage in “strikes,” “riots,” “crime,” “incendiarism,” “massive school truancy,” “worker absenteeism,” “rent defaults,” and other forms of “mass defiance” and “institutional disruption.”

In 1981, Cloward and Piven wrote that poor people lose power “when leaders try to turn movements into electoral organizations.” That is because the “capability of the poor” to effect change lies “in the vulnerability of societal institutions to disruption, and not in the susceptibility of these institutions to transformation through the votes of the poor.”

To advance their radical agenda, Cloward and Piven focused more intently on transforming the Democratic Party rather than the Republican Party. Because Democrats professed to represent the lower classes, many poor people believed they could get what they wanted by voting Democrat. Thus their energies would be channeled into useless “voter activity,” rather than strikes, riots, “incendiarism” and the like.

Ten years earlier, when Cloward and Piven determined that the welfare state was acting as a safety valve for the establishment, they resolved to destroy the welfare state. The method of destruction they chose was drawn from the teachings of Saul Alinsky: “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.” And so they did, challenging the welfare state to pay out every penny to every person theoretically entitled to it. Alinsky called this sort of tactic “mass jujitsu” – using “the strength of the enemy against itself. Now Cloward and Piven concluded that the Democratic Party was also acting as a safety valve for the establishment. Thus they would try to force Democrats to "live up to their own book of rules" -- i.e., if the Democrats say they represent the poor, let them prove it.

Cloward and Piven presented their plan in a December 1982 article titled, “A Movement Strategy to Transform the Democratic Party,” published in the left-wing journal Social Policy. They sought to do to the voting system what they had previously done to the welfare system. They would flood the polls with millions of new voters, drawn from the angry ranks of the underclass, all belligerent and the demanding their voting rights. The result would be a catastrophic disruption of America's electoral system, the authors predicted.

Cloward and Piven hoped that the flood of new voters would provoke a backlash from Democrats and Republicans alike, who would join forces to disenfranchise the unruly hordes, using such expedients as purging invalid voters from the rolls, imposing cumbersome registration procedures, stiffening residency requirements, and so forth. This voter-suppression campaign would spark “a political firestorm over democratic rights,” they wrote. Voting-rights activists would descend on America's election boards and polling stations much as George Wiley's welfare warriors had flooded social-services offices. Wrote Cloward and Piven:

“By staging rallies, demonstrations, and sit-ins … over every new restriction on registration procedures, a protest movement can dramatize the conflict.... Through conflict, the registration movement will convert registering and voting into meaningful acts of collective protest.”

The expected conflict would also expose the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party, which would be “disrupted and transformed,” the authors predicted. A new party would rise from the ashes of the old. Outwardly, it would preserve the forms and symbols of the old Democratic Party, but the new Democrats would be genuine partisans of the poor, dedicated to class struggle. This was the radical vision driving the Voting Rights Movement.

ACORN spearheaded this "voting rights" movement, which was led by veterans of George Wiley's welfare rights crusade. Also key to the movement were Project Vote and Human SERVE, both founded in 1982. Project Vote is an ACORN front group, launched by former NWRO organizer and ACORN co-founder Zach Polett. Human SERVE was founded by Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, along with a former NWRO organizer named Hulbert James.

All three of these organizations -- ACORN, Project Vote and Human SERVE -- set to work lobbying energetically for the so-called Motor-Voter law, which President Bill Clinton ultimately signed in 1993. At the White House signing ceremony for this bill, both Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven were in attendance. The new law eliminated many controls on voter fraud, making it easy for voters to register but difficult to determine the validity of new registrations. Under the new law, states were required to provide opportunities for voter registration to any person who showed up at a government office to renew a driver's license or to apply for welfare or unemployment benefits. “Examiners were under orders not to ask anyone for identification or proof of citizenship,” notes Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund in his book, Stealing Elections. “States had to permit mailing voter registrations, which allowed anyone to register without any personal contact with a registrar or election officials. Finally, states were limited in pruning 'deadwood' –people who had died, moved, or been convicted of crimes – from their rolls.

The Motor-Voter bill did indeed cause the voter rolls to be swamped with invalid registrations signed in the name of deceased, ineligible or non-existent people -- thus opening the door to the unprecedented  levels of voter fraud and "voter disenfranchisement" claims that followed in subsequent elections during the 1990s, and culminating in the Florida recount crisis in the 2000 presidential election.  On the eve of the 2000 election, in Indiana alone, state officials discovered that one in five registered voters were duplicates, deceased, or otherwise invalid.

The cloud of confusion hanging over elections serves leftist agitators well. “President Bush came to office without a clear mandate,” the leftwing billionaire George Soros declared. “He was elected president by a single vote on the Supreme Court.” Once again, the "flood-the-rolls" strategy had done its work. Cloward, Piven, and their disciples had introduced a level of fear, tension, and foreboding to U.S. elections previously encountered mainly in Third World countries.

In January 2010, journalist John Fund reported that Congressman Barney Frank and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer were preparing to unveil legislation calling for "universal voter registration," whereby any person whose name was on any federal roll at all -- be it a list of welfare recipients, food stamp recipients, unemployment compensation recipients, licensed drivers, convicted felons, property owners, etc. -- would automatically be registered to vote in political elections. Without corresponding identity-verification measures at polling places, such a law would vastly expand the pool of eligible voters, thereby multiplying the opportunities for fraudulent voters to cast ballots under other people's names.

Both the Living Wage and Voting Rights movements depend heavily on financial support from George Soros's Open Society Institute and his "Shadow Party," through whose support the Cloward-Piven strategy continues to provide a blueprint for some of the Left's most ambitious campaigns to overload, and cause the collapse of, various American institutions. Leftists such as Barack Obama euphemistically refer to this collapse as a "fundamental transformation," on the theory that society can only be improved by destroying the deeply flawed existing order and replacing it with what they view as a better alternative.

Major Resource: The Shadow Party, by David Horowitz and Richard Poe (Nashville, TN: Nelson Current, 2006), pp, 106-128.
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 Lightguns

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #635 on: November 24, 2016, 13:10:34 »
There is that Soros name again.......
Done, 34 years, 43 days complete, got's me damn pension!

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #636 on: December 02, 2016, 23:28:38 »
This is the thinking behind the new Administration's Grand Strategy:

http://www.hoover.org/research/new-american-grand-strategy

Quote
A New American Grand Strategy
by General Jim Mattis
Thursday, February 26, 2015
 
The world is awash in change. The international order, so painstakingly put together by the greatest generation coming home from mankind’s bloodiest conflict, is under increasing stress. It was created with elements we take for granted: the United Nations, NATO, the Marshall Plan, Bretton Woods and more. The constructed order reflected the wisdom of those who recognized no nation lived as an island and we needed new ways to deal with challenges that for better or worse impacted all nations. Like it or not, today we are part of this larger world and must carry out our part. We cannot wait for problems to arrive here or it will be too late; rather we must remain strongly engaged in this complex world.

The international order built on the state system is not self-sustaining. It demands tending by an America that leads wisely, standing unapologetically for the freedoms each of us in this room have enjoyed. The hearing today addresses the need for America to adapt to changing circumstances, to come out now from its reactive crouch and to take a firm strategic stance in defense of our values.

While we recognize that we owe future generations the same freedoms we enjoy, the challenge lies in how to carry out our responsibility. We have lived too long now in a strategy-free mode.

To do so America needs a refreshed national strategy. The Congress can play a key role in crafting a coherent strategy with bipartisan support. Doing so requires us to look beyond events currently consuming the executive branch.

There is an urgent need to stop reacting to each immediate vexing issue in isolation. Such response often creates unanticipated second order effects and more problems for us. I suggest that the best way to cut to the essence of these issues and to help you in crafting America’s response to a rapidly changing security environment is to ask the right questions.

These are some that we should ask:

What are the key threats to our vital interests?

The intelligence community should delineate and provide an initial prioritization of those threats for your consideration. By rigorously defining the problems we face you will enable a more intelligent and focused use of the resources allocated for national defense.

Is our intelligence community fit for its expanding purpose?

Today we have less of a military shock absorber to take surprise in stride, and fewer forward-deployed military forces overseas to act as sentinels. Accordingly we need more early warning. Congress should question if we are adequately funding the intelligence agencies to reduce the chance of our defenses being caught flat-footed.

We know that the “foreseeable future” is not foreseeable; our review must incorporate unpredictability, recognizing risk while avoiding gambling with our nation’s security.Incorporating the broadest issues in its assessments, Congress should consider what we must do if the national debt is assessed to be the biggest national security threat we face.

As President Eisenhower noted, the foundation of military strength is our economic strength. In a few short years paying interest on our debt will be a bigger bill than what we pay for defense. Much of that interest money is destined to leave America for overseas. If we refuse to reduce our debt or pay down our deficit, what is the impact on national security for future generations who will inherit this irresponsible debt and the taxes to service it? No nation in history has maintained its military power while failing to keep its fiscal house in order.

How do we urgently halt the damage caused by sequestration?

No foe in the field can wreck such havoc on our security that mindless sequestration is achieving. Congress passed it because it was viewed as so injurious that it would force wise choices. It has failed and today we use arithmetic vice sound thinking to run our government, despite emerging enemy threats. The Senate Armed Services Committee should lead the effort to repeal the sequestration that is costing military readiness and long term capability while sapping troop morale.

Without predictability in budget matters no strategy can be implemented by your military leaders. Your immediate leadership is needed to avert further damage. In our approach to the world, we must be willing to ask strategic questions. In the Middle East, where our influence is at its lowest point in four decades, we see a region erupting in crises.

We need a new security architecture for the Middle East built on sound policy, one that permits us to take our own side in this fight.  Crafting such a policy starts with asking a fundamental question and then others: Is political Islam in our best interest? If not what is our policy to support the countervailing forces? Violent terrorists cannot be permitted to take refuge behind false religious garb and leave us unwilling to define this threat with the clarity it deserves. We have potential allies around the world and in the Middle East who will rally to us but we have not been clear about where we stand in defining or dealing with the growing violent jihadist terrorist threat.

Iran is a special case that must be dealt with as a threat to regional stability, nuclear and otherwise. I believe that you should question the value of Congress adding new sanctions while international negotiations are ongoing, while having them ready should the negotiations for preventing their nuclear weapons capability and stringent monitoring break down.

Further, we should question if we have the right policies in place when Iran creates more mischief in Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the region. We should recognize that regional counterweights like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council can reinforce us if they understand our policies and if we clarify our foreign policy goals beyond Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

In Afghanistan we need to consider if we’re asking for the same outcome there as we saw last summer in Iraq if we pull out all our troops on the Administration’s proposed timeline. Echoing the military advice given on the same issue in Iraq, gains achieved at great cost against our enemy in Afghanistan are reversible. We should recognize that we may not want this fight but the barbarity of an enemy that kills women and children and has refused to break with Al Qaeda needs to be fought.

More broadly, is the U.S. military being developed to fight across the spectrum of combat?

Knowing that enemies always move against perceived weakness, our forces must be capable of missions from nuclear deterrence to counter-insurgency and everything in between, now including the pervasive cyber domain. While surprise is always a factor, Congress can ensure that we have the fewest big regrets when the next surprise occurs. We don’t want or need a military that is at the same time dominant and irrelevant, so we must sort this out and deny funding for bases or capabilities no longer needed.

The nuclear stockpile must be tended to and fundamental questions must be asked and answered: We must clearly establish the role of our nuclear weapons: do they serve solely to deter nuclear war? If so, we should say so, and the resulting clarity will help to determine the number we need. Is it time to reduce the Triad to a Diad, removing the land-based missiles? This would reduce the false alarm danger. Could we reenergize the arms control effort by only counting warheads vice launchers? Was the Russian test violating the INF treaty simply a blunder or a change in policy, and what is our appropriate response?

The reduced size of our military drives the need to ask other questions: Our military is uniquely capable and the envy of the world, but are we resourcing it to ensure we have the highest quality troops, the best equipment and the toughest training?

With a smaller military comes the need for troops kept at the top of their game. When we next put them in harm’s way it must be the enemy’s longest day and worst day. Tiered readiness with a smaller force must be closely scrutinized to ensure we aren’t merely hollowing out the force. While sequestration is the nearest threat to this national treasure that is the U.S. military, sustaining it as the world’s best when smaller will need your critical oversight. Are the Navy and our expeditionary forces receiving the support they need in a world where America’s naval role is more pronounced because we have fewer forces posted overseas?

With the cutbacks to the Army and Air Force and fewer forces around the world, military aspects of our strategy will inevitably become more naval in character. This will provide decision time for political leaders considering employment of additional forms of military power. Congress’ resourcing of our naval and expeditionary forces will need to take this development into account. Because we will need to swiftly move ready forces to act against nascent threats, nipping them in the bud, the agility to reassure friends and temper adversary activities will be critical to America’s effectiveness for keeping a stable and prosperous world. I question if our shipbuilding budget is sufficient, especially in light of the situation in the South China Sea.

While our efforts in the Pacific to keep positive relations with China are well and good, these efforts must be paralleled by a policy to build the counterbalance if China continues to expand its bullying role in the South China Sea and elsewhere. That counterbalance must deny China veto power over territorial, security and economic conditions in the Pacific, building support for our diplomatic efforts to maintain stability and economic prosperity so critical to our economy.

In light of worldwide challenges to the international order we are nonetheless shrinking our military. Are we adjusting our strategy and taking into account a reduced role for that shrunken military?

Strategy connects ends, ways and means. With less military available, we must reduce our appetite for using it. Absent growing our military, there must come a time when moral outrage, serious humanitarian plight, or lesser threats cannot be militarily addressed.  Prioritization is needed if we are to remain capable of the most critical mission for which we have a military: to fight on short notice and defend the country. In this regard we must recognize we should not and need not carry this military burden solely on our own.

Does our strategy and associated military planning take into account our nation’s increased need for allies?

The need for stronger alliances comes more sharply into focus as we shrink the military. No nation can do on its own all that is necessary for its security. Further, history reminds us that countries with allies generally defeat those without. A capable U.S. military, reinforcing our political will to lead from the front, is the bedrock on which we draw together those nations that stand with us against threats to the international order.

Our strategy must adapt to and accommodate this reality. As Churchill intimated, the only thing harder than fighting with allies is fighting without them. Congress, through the Armed Services Committee, should track closely an increased military capability to work with allies, the NATO alliance being foremost but not our sole focus. We must also enlist non-traditional partners where we have common foes or common interests.

In reference to NATO and in light of the Russian violations of international borders, we must ask if the Alliance’s efforts have adjusted to the unfortunate and dangerous mode the Russian leadership has slipped into?

With regard to tightening the bond between our smaller military and those we may need at our side in future fights, the convoluted foreign military sales system needs a challenge. Hopefully it can be put in order before we drive more potential partners to equip themselves with foreign equipment, a move that makes it harder to achieve needed inter-operability with our allies and undercuts America’s industrial base. Currently the system fails to reach its potential to support our foreign policy.

As we attempt to restore stability to the state system and international order, a critical question will be: Is America good for its word?

When we make clear our position or give our word about something, our friends (and even our foes) must recognize that we are good for it. Otherwise dangerous miscalculations can occur. This means that the military instrument must be fit for purpose and that once a political position is taken, our position is backed up by a capable military making clear that we will stand on our word.

When the decision is made to employ our forces in combat, Congress should ask if the military is being employed with the proper authority. I believe it should examine answers to fundamental questions like the following:

Are the political objectives clearly defined and achievable? Murky or quixotic political end states can condemn us to entering wars we don’t know how to end. Notifying the enemy in advance of our withdrawal dates or reassuring the enemy that we will not use certain capabilities like our ground forces should be avoided. Such announcements do not take the place of mature, well‐defined end‐states, nor do they contribute to ending wars as rapidly as possible on favorable terms.

Is the theater of war itself sufficient for effective prosecution? We have witnessed safe havens prolonging war. If the defined theater of war is insufficient, the plan itself needs to be challenged to determine feasibility of its success or the need for its modification.

Is the authority for detaining prisoners of war appropriate for the enemy and type war that we are fighting? We have observed the perplexing lack of detainee policy that has resulted in the return of released prisoners to the battlefield. We should not engage in another fight without resolving this issue up front, treating hostile forces, in fact, as hostile.

Are America’s diplomatic, economic, and other assets aligned to the war aims, with the intent of ending the conflict as rapidly as possible? We have experienced the military alone trying achieve tasks outside its expertise. When we take the serious decision to fight, we must bring to bear all our nation’s resources. You should question how the diplomatic and development efforts will be employed to build momentum for victory and our nation’s strategy demands that integration.

Finally the culture of our military and its rules are designed to bring about battlefield success in the most atavistic environment on earth. No matter how laudable in terms of a progressive country’s instincts, Congress needs to consider carefully any proposed changes to military rules, traditions and standards that bring non‐combat emphasis to combat units. There is a great difference between military service in dangerous circumstances and serving in a combat unit whose role is to search out and kill the enemy at close quarters. Congress has a responsibility for imposing reason over impulse when proposed changes could reduce the combat capability of our forces at the point of contact with the enemy.

Ultimately we need the foresight of the Armed Services Committee, acting in its sentinel and oversight role, to draw us out of the reactive stance we’ve fallen into and chart a strategic way ahead. Our national security strategy needs bipartisan direction. In some cases, Congress may need to change our processes for developing an integrated national strategy, because mixing capable people and their good ideas with bad processes results in the bad processes defeating good peoples’ ideas nine times out of ten. This is an urgent matter, because in an interconnected age when opportunistic adversaries can work in tandem to destroy stability and prosperity, our country needs to regain its strategic footing.

We need to bring clarity to our efforts before we lose the confidence of the American people and the support of our potential allies.

This essay was adapted from statements made by the author before the Senate Armed Services Committee on January 27, 2015.
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 #637 on: January 01, 2017, 11:00:18 »
The American Interest on how the various "myths" or narratives the we have used as shorthand to understand the world have unravelled. Part of what triggered the Trump phenomena is the realization outside of the coastal corridors that these myths no longer reflected the real world people could see just outside their door, and the understanding that something different was needed. Some similar points were made by Newt Gingrich in a speech eh gave here:

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/12/30/the-great-unraveling/

Quote
AFTER OBAMA
The Great Unraveling
European policy on Russia is beginning to crumble as the French presidential candidates step away from sanctions. The WSJ:

The two leading candidates, François Fillon and Marine Le Pen, are both avowed opponents of sanctions meant to punish Moscow for its annexation of part of Ukraine and its support for rebels in the country’s east.

Russia’s bombing of Syria’s onetime commercial capital of Aleppo—called a war crime by France’s current leaders—hasn’t deterred either politician from urging closer ties between Paris and Moscow.

The victory of either candidate in the May election threatens to blow a hole in Europe’s sanctions against Moscow, which are a centerpiece of the Continent’s strategy for containing Russia’s military assertiveness.

In post-Obama world, Germany could end up being isolated on Russia. The harshest, most effective attack on the Russia sanctions comes courtesy of Fillon, who said that it is not so much an actual policy intending to change Russian behavior as a symbolic gesture. Put even less diplomatically, it is a sham—a fake policy that allows Westerners to feel better about themselves while doing nothing serious about Russia’s attack on the post-1990 settlement in Eastern Europe.

This is a bigger deal than it may look. The past 25 years of world politics have rested on a series of polite fictions, agreed-upon conventions and hypocritical pretenses: That we had a policy to end the North Korean nuclear drive (ditto for Iran); That Europe was becoming a great posthistorical power based on the mighty engine of the euro; That the two-state solution was just a settlement freeze away; That international institutions and civil society were replacing national governments at the center of world politics; That immigration was a no-brainer; That the progress toward free trade was inexorable; That democracy was irresistibly on the march; and so on. Americans and Europeans believed that the world would look more and more like we wanted it to without us doing any heavy lifting.

Those are all very comforting ideas, but sadly none of them are true. In the next few years we are going to have to face some less pleasant choices based on hard truths rather than comfy illusions. Having the kind of world we really want—safe, prosperous, democratic—is not fully achievable no matter what we do. And having a tolerable world involves working harder, spending more, and putting more skin in the game than we want. A different kind of statesmanship, harder-edged and less sentimental, is going to be needed. Pretending to have a Russia policy will no longer be enough; we will have to choose between the unpalatable alternatives of effectively blocking Russian moves or acquiescing in Russian wins. Brutal clarity rather than liberal pink cloud thinking is the rising force in international affairs.
In the meantime, expect the old world and the old certainties to continue to crumble and fade.
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 #638 on: February 25, 2017, 15:48:15 »
This could also go into the Brexit thread, but the divide between the "elites" and the population is an issue throughout the West, and populist backlash is evident across Europe with the rise of Nationalist/populist parties like AfD, Front National or the Party for Freedom, votes like Brexit and the Italian rejection of constitutional reform and suspension of freedom of movement across parts of Europe. The essential mission of the Trump Administration will be to defang the "Deep State" and use populism to restore the balance between political and bureaucratic institutions and the AMerican People:

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/02/20/the-real-division-in-american-life-isnt-about-trump/

Quote
The Real Division in American Life Isn’t About Trump

Over at USA Today, Glenn Reynolds argues that America’s credentialed class—currently rending garments over every utterance of Donald Trump—underestimated just how bad things were before the Donald took office:

To the privileged and well-educated Americans living in their “bicoastal bastions,” things seemed to be going quite well, even as the rest of the country fell farther and farther behind.  But, writes Eberstadt: “It turns out that the year 2000 marks a grim historical milestone of sorts for our nation. For whatever reasons, the Great American Escalator, which had lifted successive generations of Americans to ever higher standards of living and levels of social well-being, broke down around then — and broke down very badly.” […]

In fact, while America was losing wars abroad and jobs at home, elites seemed focused on things that were, well, faintly ridiculous. As Richard Fernandez tweeted: “The elites lost their mojo by becoming absurd. It happened on the road between cultural appropriation and transgender bathrooms.” It was fatal: “People believe from instinct. The Roman gods became ridiculous when the Roman emperors did. PC is the equivalent of Caligula’s horse.”

The basic division in American politics today is not over the merits of President Trump. Many of those who voted for him believed that he lacked the moral grounding and gravitas that great Presidents must ultimately draw on. The division is between those who think that, before Trump, things were going just fine and the American elite was doing an excellent job and those who blame the rise of Trump on the failures and blindness of the so-called “meritocratic elite” who, they would argue, have been running the country into the ground.

In foreign policy, the United States has had two failed presidencies in a row. Our grand strategy of domesticating China into the world order by offering it an unprecedented opportunity to grow rich through low-wage manufacturing exports has hurt American workers without democratizing or reconciling China. Presidents Bush and Obama thought that the democratization of the Middle East would and could solve the terrorism problem—and so did their degreed and esteemed advisers and the commentariat.

Domestically, our leadership elite has watched passively as infrastructure decays, state and local pension systems accumulate unsustainable debt loads, the national debt inexorably climbs, and the social capital of the nation erodes.

There was no sign from the Clinton campaign that anybody understood that the nation’s path was unsustainable. The Clinton campaign was about “more of the same.”

The Trump voters were right that the nation needs change and that the “best and the brightest” are failing the nation the way they did during the Vietnam War; the Clinton voters were right that on the whole the Trump team lacks the skills and the temperament to run the country. Glenn Reynolds is right that this isn’t just another example of partisan gridlock. It is a danger to the stability of the United States political system.
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 #639 on: March 10, 2017, 08:30:02 »
A rather astounding comparison. While the author is correct in saying there is no way to compare the magnitude of each man's potential impact, the essential idea of doing politics as a pragmatic exercise in allocating resources is the unifying factor here:

https://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2017/03/09/will-donald-trump-be-the-american-deng-xiaoping/

Quote
Will Donald Trump Be the American Deng Xiaoping?
By Roger L Simon March 9, 2017
 
To mention Donald Trump in the same breath with Deng Xiaoping -- the man who led China out of the Dark Ages of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution and into the modern world -- sounds ludicrous on its face.  And to a great degree it is.  Deng, after all, is -- not just arguably, but actually -- the man who personally is responsible for improving more human lives than anyone in history, lifting hundreds of  millions of Chinese out of abject poverty and undoubtedly saving untold millions from starvation by upending Maoism. (Historians believe Mao was responsible of 45 million deaths during the four years of the Great Leap Forward alone.)

Deng, like all of us, was not perfect, but he clearly had a political genius and incredible courage in his ability to battle and ultimately defeat the monolithic power of  Mao Zedong, who had jailed him and had his son pushed out a window (the son has spent the rest of his life as a paraplegic). It's the stuff of great novels. (Yes, I realize Maoism still lingers in China, but, as I mentioned, nothing's perfect.)

Back in 1961, at the height of Mao's reign and three years before the publication of the Chairman's Little Red Book, Deng slyly and metaphorically attacked the ideological rigidity of communism with one simple statement (dare I call it a tweet?  If so, it was the most potent tweet of all time): "I don't care if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice."

Simple as it is, that bears repeating: "I don't care if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice."

There are minor variations in the various translations but they all have the same pragmatic, anti-ideological import.  The Chinese evidently never forgot it, because, although many still may pretend-profess to be communists, they are in reality Dengists.  This has led to the world's most succesful crony capitalism, but, again as I said, nothing's perfect.  Whatever the case, modern China is a giant improvement with Deng Xiaoping's fingerprints all over it.  The unbelievable Shanghai skyline -- that's Deng.

Like a Serial Killer, Mao Zedong Manipulated Everyone

So is Donald a Dengist?  As yet, of course, his impact is extremely minor by comparison and even making such a comparison of someone who was born a peasant in impoverished rural China, became a communist and then lived to subvert communism in the most populace country on the planet with a to-the-manor-born scion of a Queens real estate mogul is, shall we say, a bit of a stretch.

Nevertheless, the Deng analogy suddenly jumped into my head when I saw a video the other day of a smiling (yes, smiling) Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) -- normally a bitter enemy of anything Republican -- emerging from a White House meeting with the president.  Cummings had been talking with Trump about the high cost of pharmaceuticals and apparently, evidently to Cummings' surprise, there had been another meeting, this time of the minds.  It didn't matter if the cat was black or white (Democrat or Republican -- no racial implication intended here). People were having trouble affording their meds, the one item they needed above all besides food.

I had a similar reaction when I read the next morning that the president was bowling with a number of members of Congress of various persuasions.  Good for him, I thought.  This is a man who, besides being a people person, wants to get things done.  Lindsey Graham, another longtime opponent, also came out smiling from lunch. (Question: How did Deng survive in an even tougher environment?  Or was it tougher?  The New York Times and Washington Post reporters act as if Trump can't even put his socks on straight, even though they themselves seem to be having some difficulties. The Eurocrats attack him as a pariah as their own societies implode around them. Virtually our entire entertainment industry and academia -- speaking of the Cultural Revolution -- is aligned against him.)

The current healthcare debate is another example of Trump's Dengism.  Anyone who is even slightly honest and takes a few steps backwards from the current clamor knows that in a society the size of the United States there is no such thing -- from total socialized medicine to the purest of free markets -- as a perfect solution to healthcare.  Someone's ox is always going to get gored.  Yet Trump is keeping the door open to everyone, aiming ultimately to get something done, because, as we all know, Obamacare ain't workin'.

This all raises the perpetual question of pragmatism versus ideological principles. The Groucho joke aside ("These are my principles.  If you don't like them, I have others."), we all need some basic ideals to rely upon, some way to understand the world.  But there's a difference between liking and loving your ideology. I have my ideological leanings, but I don't love them. They give me a base from which to operate.  Pelosi and Schumer are examples of people who love their ideology.  You almost always know what they are going to say about just about anything -- and, for that reason, what they say usually has little to do with the solution of the problem.  What they have to say also therefore is of very little interest, no more than a Knicks fan telling you the amazing news he roots for the Knicks (duh!).  This is also true of certain people on the right.  And, of course, it was true of Barack Obama who rarely, if ever, even spoke to the other side.  He knew best.

Ideological rigidity doesn't always end up like Robespierre guillotining his former comrades, but it is almost always a serious impediment to the advancement of society and our own ability to see.  It blinds us and holds us back. (I consider myself some kind of libertarian-conservative, but I'd also like to be free to support government-financed infrastructure if it becomes necessary).  Deng Xiaoping clearly felt the same way, as I suspect does Donald Trump. I also suspect, and hope, that if Trump is able to succeed in what he is doing he will at least partly break this ideological yoke that seems to have brought our country to a standstill. People who complain he is not a "real conservative" annoy me as much as those who insist he is.  I don't care if a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.


P.S.: While surfing around doing research for this article, I was pleased to find I was not the first to recognize this odd similarity.  On July 15, 2016, Frank Li wrote on econintersect.com: "America is 'desperately in need of a great transformational leader like China's Deng' ... Could Donald Trump possibly be that leader?"  You will also find an amusing photo of Deng with Ronald and Nancy Reagan at that link.

Further, believe it or not, I actually met Deng Xiaoping.  He visited Los Angeles in 1979 and, still a leftist at that time, I was invited to a small reception in a working class neighborhood near downtown.  He came, again believe it or not, no one could make this up, in the company of the Osmonds!  You can read about it here, if you're interested.
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 Chris Pook

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #640 on: March 20, 2017, 12:53:00 »
Quote
Trump Shifting Authority Over Military Operations Back to Pentagon

By MICHAEL R. GORDONMARCH 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump is shifting more authority over military operations to the Pentagon, according to White House officials, reversing what his aides and some generals say was a tendency by the Obama White House to micromanage issues better left to military commanders.

The change is at the heart of a re-engineering of the National Security Council’s role under its new leader, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, and reflects Mr. Trump’s belief that the N.S.C. should focus less on military operations and tactics and more on strategic issues. A guiding precept for the president and his team is that the balance of power in the world has shifted against American interests, and that General McMaster should focus on developing foreign and economic policy options in concert with the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies to respond to that challenge.

The new approach to managing military operations was evident this month when a Marine artillery battery and a team of Army Rangers — some 400 troops in all — arrived in northern Syria. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed off on the deployments and notified the White House. But General McMaster neither convened a meeting at the White House to discuss whether to send the forces nor presented the Pentagon with questions about where, precisely, the troops would operate or what risks they might confront.

Though the streamlined decision-making has been welcomed by many in the military, it could raise questions about whether Mr. Trump, who has drawn heavily from current and former generals to fill key jobs in his administration, is exercising sufficient oversight.

“For President Trump, it is very early days, but he appears to be going back to a model of greater delegation of authority,” said Michèle A. Flournoy, who was the Pentagon’s top policy official under President Barack Obama and is the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based policy group.

“The benefit is that it allows the military campaign to go forward without undue pauses, interruptions or delays,” Ms. Flournoy added. “That enables it to create more momentum and to be more responsive to changes on the battlefield. But there is a risk if there is inadequate oversight and the president stops paying close attention. It can be detrimental, even dangerous, if a commander in chief does not feel ownership of the campaign or loses touch with how things are evolving on the ground.”

Funny position for an authoritarian - delegation of authority.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/19/us/trump-shifting-authority-over-military-operations-back-to-pentagon.html?_r=0

Also interesting is the sense that the NSC has other things to worry about other than just military operations.  Which is in line with having Steve Bannon on the NSC.  Bannon:Trump = Bracken:Churchill.  One of Bracken's star employees was a chap name of George Orwell.

One final thought.

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth over Trump's proposed cuts to Foreign Aid and International Development.   Is it reasonable to suggest that Coca Cola, McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut are more effective at selling America than any government programme?  And they create American jobs both at home and overseas.  High School kid as assistant shift supervisor becomes Head of Turkish operations.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 12:57:16 by Chris Pook »
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #641 on: March 20, 2017, 21:06:13 »
Much wailing and gnashing of teeth over Trump's proposed cuts to Foreign Aid and International Development.   Is it reasonable to suggest that Coca Cola, McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut are more effective at selling America than any government programme?  And they create American jobs both at home and overseas.  High School kid as assistant shift supervisor becomes Head of Turkish operations.

For many progressives, the idea that Capitalism and the Free Market represent an effective means of "selling" America abroad is repugnant in the extreme. Only qualified and credentialed "experts" could possibly make the right choices and do the right things to project American values and power abroad. And look at the unbroken string of successes they have run up since.....um....

Sadly, the political and bureaucratic classes in America (and their academic and media allies) are far more interested in expressing solidarity with their political and bureaucratic counterparts abroad rather than representing the interests of the hundreds of millions of Americans for whom Coca-Cola, MacDonald's. KFC and Pizza Hut are familiar symbols of the neighbourhood and even valued employers. The divide isn't even really "Left/Right" as most people traditionally think of politics, but rather a horizontal line dividing "Patricians/Plebeians". And history tells us that that sort of division is much more prone to violent overturning than simple "Left/Right" models (look at the Social Wars in the Res Publica Roma for an early example).
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 Chris Pook

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #642 on: April 22, 2017, 11:38:56 »


The badge and motto of Clan Fleming - Belgian merchants that were invited to Scotland in the 1120's by King David that set up shop in Lanark which became a cradle of both the Covenanters and Presbyterians.

This article by James Carafano makes sense to me.  I don't know that Trump isn't an egotistical, dim-witted, scatter-brained, megalo-maniacal, mysoginistic, homophobic anti-semite.  I just figure that it is foolish to assume that anybody who has reached his age and his position, and who has not only not lost what he inherited but has enlarged upon it, is not capable.

The words and the tweets may mean nothing unless he wants them to mean something.  He may just be creating his own obscuring screen.  He may just be creating the opportunity for surprise.  An opportunity that would diminish over time as his deeds make him more predictable.

And there again, I may be wrong and he is a slobbering fool.  But I wouldn't bet on it.

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/trump-has-foreign-policy-strategy-20284

Quote
Trump Has a Foreign Policy Strategy

Yes, there is a method to Trump's foreign-policy "madness."
James Jay Carafano
April 20, 2017

For two weeks, the White House has unleashed a foreign-policy blitzkrieg, and Washington’s chattering classes are shocked and, if not awed, at least perplexed.
CNN calls Trump’s actions a “u-turn.” Bloomberg opts for the more mathematical “180 degree turn,” while the Washington Post goes with “flipflop.” Meanwhile, pundits switched from decrying the president as an isolationist to lambasting him as a tool of the neocons. Amid all the relabeling, explanations of an “emerging Trump Doctrine” have proliferated faster than North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

Here’s my take on what’s going on:
• Yes, there is a method to Trump’s “madness.”
• No, there has been no big change in Trump’s strategy.
The actions that flustered those who thought they had pigeon-holed Donald Trump simply reflect the impulses that have driven the direction of this presidency since before the convention in Cleveland.

At the Center of the Storm

Where is the head and heart of the president’s national-security team? Ask that question a year ago, and the answer would have been simple: General Mike Flynn, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Senator Jeff Sessions.

Today, Flynn is gone. Giuliani never went in. Sessions is still a crucial voice in the administration, but his duties as Attorney General deal only partially with foreign policy and national-security matters.
The new team centers round Jim Mattis at the Defense Department, Rex Tillerson at the State Department, John Kelly at the Department of Homeland Security and H. R. McMaster in the West Wing—ably assisted by Nikki Haley at the United Nations. Trump barely knew these people before the election.

There is little question that the new team’s character and competence affected the White House response to the recent string of high profile events and activities—from presidential meetings with Egypt and China and Tillerson’s tête-à-tête with Putin, to the ominous developments in Syria and North Korea. Though on the job for only about dozen weeks, the new administration handled a lot of action on multiple fronts quite deftly. Much of that can be credited to the maturity and experience of Trump’s senior national-security team.

But how the administration responded was purely Trumpian—reflecting an impulse that transcends the makeup of his foreign team or other White House advisors.

Decoding Trumpian Strategy

Since the early days of the campaign, one thing has been clear: trying stitch together an understanding of Trump’s foreign and defense policy based on Trump’s tweets and other off-hand comments is a fool’s errand. That has not changed since the Donald took over the Oval Office.

That is not to say that none of Trump’s rhetoric matters. He has given some serious speeches and commentary. But pundits err when they give every presidential utterance equal merit. A joint address to Congress ought to carry a lot more weight than a 3 a.m. tweet about the Terminator.

But especially with this presidency, one needs to focus on White House actions rather than words to gain a clearer understanding of where security and foreign policy is headed. Do that, and one sees emerging a foreign and defense policy more conventional and more consistent than what we got from Bush or Obama. Still, a deeper dive is necessary to get at the root of Trump’s take on the world and how it fits with recent actions like the tomahawk strikes in Syria and the armada steaming toward North Korea.

I briefed Candidate Trump and his policy advisors during the campaign. I organized workshops for the ambassadorial corps during the Cleveland Convention and worked with the presidential team through the inauguration. Those experiences let me observe how the policies from the future fledgling administration were unfolding. Here are some observations that might be helpful in understanding the Trumpian way.

At the core of Trump’s view of the world are his views on the global liberal order. Trump is no isolationist. He recognizes that America is a global power with global interests and that it can’t promote and protect those interests by sitting at home on its hands. Freedom of the commons, engaging and cooperating with like-minded nations, working to blunt problems “over there” before they get over here—these are things every modern president has pursued. Trump is no different.

What distinguishes Trump—and what marks a particularly sharp departure from Obama—is his perception of what enabled post–World War America and the rest of the free world to rise above the chaos of a half century of global depression and open war.

Obama and his ilk chalked it all up to international infrastructure—the UN, IMF, World Bank, EU, et al. For Trump, it was the sovereign states rather than the global bureaucracies that made things better. The international superstructure has to stand on a firm foundation—and the foundation is the sovereign state. Without strong, vibrant, free and wealthy states, the whole thing collapses like a Ponzi scheme.

More to follow....
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #643 on: April 22, 2017, 11:41:40 »
... See my last

Quote
Trump is an arch nationalist in the positive sense of the term. America will never be safe in the world if the world doesn’t have an America that is free, safe and prosperous.
That belief is at the heart of Trump’s policies designed to spark an economic revival, rollback the administrative state and rebuild the military. It lies at the core of his mantra: make America great again.

Even the strongest America, however, can’t be a global power without the willingness to act globally. And that's where Trump's declaration of “America First” comes in.

What it means for foreign policy is that the president will put the vital interests of the United States above the maintenance of global institutions. That is not an abandonment of universal values. Every American president deals with the challenge of protecting interests and promoting values. Trump will focus on American interests and American values, and that poses no threat to friends and allies. In many cases, we share the same values. In many cases, what's in America's vital interest is also in their interest—and best achieved through joint partnership.

Here is how those animating ideas are currently manifesting themselves in Trump's strategy:

A strategy includes ends (what you are trying to accomplish), means (the capabilities you will use to do that) and ways (how you are going to do it). The ends of Trump’s strategy are pretty clear. In both talk and action in the Trump world, it boils down to three parts of the world: Europe, Asia and the Middle East. That makes sense. Peace and stability in these regions are vital to U.S. interests and are under assault. The United States wants all three parts of the world to settle. It is unrealistic to think all the problems can be made to disappear, but it is not unrealistic to significantly reduce the potential for region-wide conflict.

The means are more than just a strong military. Trump believes in using all the instruments of power, hard and soft. He has unleashed Nikki Haley on the United Nations. He has ordered Rex Tillerson to revamp the State Department so that it is focused on the core tasks of statecraft and the effective and appropriate use of foreign assistance. He wants an intelligence community that delivers intelligence and doesn’t just cater to what the White House wants to hear. And he has ordered Homeland Security to shift from being politically correct to operationally effective. Further, it’s clear that Tillerson, Kelly, Mattis and Sessions are all trying to pull in the same direction.

The ways of the Trump strategy are not the engagement and enlargement of Clinton, the rearranging of the world by Bush, or the disengagement of Obama. The world is filled with intractable problems. Trump is less interested in trying to solve all of them in a New-York minute and more concerned about reducing those problems so that they give the United States and its friends and allies less and less trouble.

Trump is traveling a path between running away and invading. It might be called persistent presence. The United States plans to engage and use its influence in key parts of the world consistently over time to protect our interests. Done consistently, it will not only protect our interests; it will also expand the global safe space by causing bad influences to fade.

Recent activities in the Middle East are a good example. The bomb strike on Syria was not a prelude to regime change or nation-building in Syria. It was a warning shot to Assad to cut it out and stop interfering in U.S. efforts to finish off ISIS, stabilize refugee populations and keep Iraq from falling apart. Engagement with Egypt was to signal America is back working with partners to stabilize the region and counter the twin threats of Islamist extremism and Iran. Neither is a kick-***-and-withdraw operation. These are signs of long, serious engagement, shrinking the space in which bad actors can operate.

The U.S. regional strategies for Europe and Asia are the same, and it seems clear that Chinese and Russian leaders have gotten the message. In the wake of recent meetings, both countries have reacted by treating Trump with the seriousness he has demanded. Others get it too. I’ve talked to many foreign officials who have come through Washington, DC this year and they have all told me that they got the same impression: this administration is about resolve and persistence.

Still, no strategy is without risks and pitfalls. This one is no different. Here is how Trump might screw up or be upended by a smarter or luckier enemy:

Pop goes political will. A strategy of persistent presence can work only if the United States persists. It took past presidents over a decade to screw things up. It is going to take at least eight years of reassuring friends and wearing down adversaries to fix it. Trump will have to get reelected.

Strength for the fight. Trump has to deliver guns and butter: a rebounding economy at home and a strong face abroad. That means a combination of growth and fiscally responsible federal spending—a challenge that eluded the last two presidents.

Mission creep. Presence can lapse into ambition, which can become overreach, or certainly taking on more than make sense to handle. There might always be temptation to deal with a North Korea, Syria or Iran once for all.

Blindsided. There are other parts of the world. An administration can't be indifferent to effective engagement in Latin America and Africa.

Distractions. Persistence is boring. There is always the temptation to follow the bright foreign-policy object.

Enemy gets a vote. The United States has to be strong in three theaters at the same time, so there will always be a temptation for its competitors to coordinate efforts or seize opportunities to give the United States multiple problems to solve, straining its capability to persist in each theater.

Black Swans. Competitors might get tired of the long war and risk throwing in a game changer. For example, rolling the dice on an Electromagnetic Pulse attack. Effective persistence requires a measure of paranoia. Competitors are never inanimate entities to be pushed around. They have agency, and they are always looking for a way to make a bad day for the other guy.

It remains to be seen if Trump can become a strategic leader capable of steering America past all these obstacles, but certainly he sees the path forward much more clearly than his domestic opponents are willing to recognize or acknowledge.

A Heritage Foundation vice president, James Jay Carafano directs the think tank’s research program for national security and foreign relations.

I keep hearing that Trump likes to win and how he must be aggravated at how he hasn't won all his battles.  He is coming up on 71.  I am fairly sure that he has lost a battle or two in his life.  He has also spent a lifetime with New York Paparazzi following his every move while he conducted his business.

I would bet that he long ago decided on how much he would allow the press to influence his activities.

The last thing that I would expect is that he would tell the press what his end game is.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 11:49:50 by Chris Pook »
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #644 on: April 22, 2017, 11:54:46 »
One last bit of trivia that I came across:

Quote
On October 31, 1991, 79-year-old Mary Anne Trump (Donald Trump's Mother) was mugged and beaten near her home in Queens, New York. She sustained broken ribs, facial bruises, several fractures, a brain hemorrhage, and permanent damage to her sight and hearing.[5][6] A delivery truck driver named Lawrence Herbert apprehended her 16-year-old assailant, and Donald Trump rewarded Herbert with a check that kept him from losing his home to a foreclosure.[7][4]

She died 9 years later, one year after her husband.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Anne_MacLeod_Trump

1991 - 26 years ago, Trump at 45.

I wonder if that had any impact on the way he saw the world, the US and his role?

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #645 on: April 22, 2017, 13:41:42 »
Once again, this should be blindingly obvious to the chattering classes. President Trump has been a public figure for more than 30 years, and re reading "The Art of the Deal" was like watching the entire primary season and Presidential election campaign. His M.O. should be well known by now.

The fact the legacy media, chattering classes, professional politicians, bureaucrats and academics have not caught on should be concerning. While the President may be using social media tools for obfuscation, it seems to me that the real issue in the American left is a willful blindness to anything or anyone who does not fit into the "Narrative", and an inability to look outside the bubble to check their assumptions. The "Narrative" has collided with reality, and the resulting train wreak is horrifying to look at, but still compels us to slow down and look anyway.....The battlespace right now seems to be between the current establishment "Narrative" and the counter narratives of MAGA, the Alt-Right, Alt-Tech and others which may be more reflective of reality, or seem to have more predictive power for the user.

Quote
Obfuscation

Obfuscation is the willful obscuring of the intended meaning of communication, usually by making the message confusing, ambiguous, or difficult to understand. The obfuscation might be unintentional or intentional, and is accomplished with circumlocution, the use of jargon, and the use of an argot of little communicative value to outsiders.

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 #646 on: August 06, 2017, 23:05:39 »
Henry Kissinger reflects on where we stand today, and the potential challenges we face tomorrow:

https://capx.co/chaos-and-order-in-a-changing-world/

Quote
Chaos and order in a changing world
By Dr Henry Kissinger

Lady Thatcher was one of the most significant leaders of our period. Decisive, effervescent, courageous, loyal, she was dedicated to shaping the future rather than following the recommendations of focus groups.

I first met her in the early 1970s, when she was serving as Minister of Education in the Cabinet of Edward Heath. At our first meeting, Mrs Thatcher conveyed her disdain for the then conventional wisdom that political contests were about winning the centre. For her, leadership was the task of moving the political centre towards defined principles rather than the other way around.

In implementing this philosophy, she generated over a long career a new political direction in her society. She did so by a combination of character and courage: character because the seminal choices demanded by the political process are usually taken in a very narrow passage; and courage to go forward on a road not travelled before.

Margaret Thatcher displayed these attributes articulately in the Findley address at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the site of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech 50 years earlier. She put forward challenges which, in their essence, are even more urgent today:

Should Russia be regarded as a potential threat or a partner?
Should NATO turn its attention to “out of area” issues?
Should NATO admit the new democracies of Central Europe with full responsibilities as quickly as prudently possible?
Should Europe develop its own “defense identity” in NATO?

Two decades after Lady Thatcher’s prescient address, the transatlantic world faces another set of issues of comparable nature. The world order the West created to end its Thirty Years’ War in 1648 was based on the notion of sovereignty of states secured by a balance of power between a multiplicity of entities. It now confronts concepts of order drawn from different historical and cultural experiences and involving visions of continental or universal religious dimensions. So the long-term issue becomes whether these issues are to be resolved by the maxims of the nation-state or new, more globalised concepts, and with what consequences for the future world order. Let me do so by adapting Lady Thatcher’s challenges to our circumstances.

Russia

The Russian challenge—Lady Thatcher’s first question—today focuses on Ukraine and Syria but reflects a deeper alienation. Stretching with eleven time zones from Europe along the borders of Islam to the Pacific, Russia has developed a distinct conception of world order. In its perennial quest for security along vast boundaries with few natural demarcations, Russia has evolved what amounts to a definition of absolute security, which verges on absolute insecurity for some of its neighbours.

At the same time, Russia’s geo-strategic scale, its almost mystic conception of greatness, and the willingness of its people to endure hardship have helped over the centuries to preserve the global equilibrium against imperial designs by Mongols, Swedes, French, and Germans. The result for Russia has been ambivalence—a desire to be accepted by Europe and to transcend it simultaneously. This special sense of identity helps explain President Putin’s statement that, “The demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”

Putin’s view of international politics is often described as a recurrence of 1930s European nationalist authoritarianism. More accurately, it is the heritage of the worldview identified with the novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, as exemplified in his 1880 speech at the dedication of a monument to the poet Pushkin. Its passionate call for a new spirit of Russian greatness based on the spiritual qualities of the Russian character was taken up in the late 20th century by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Abandoning his exile in Vermont to return to Russia, Solzhenitsyn, in his book On the Russian Question, called for action to save the Russian people who had been “driven out” of Russia. In the same spirit, Putin has railed against what he has interpreted as a 300-year-old Western effort to contain Russia. In 2007 in a Dostoevskyan-like outburst at the Munich Security Conference, he accused the West of having unjustly exploited the troubles of post-Cold War Russia to isolate and condemn it.

How should the West develop relations with Russia, a country that is a vital element of European security but which, for reasons of history and geography, has a fundamentally different view of what constitutes a mutually satisfactory arrangement in areas adjacent to Russia. Is the wisest course to pressure Russia, and if necessary to punish it, until it accepts Western views of its internal and global order? Or is scope left for a political process that overcomes, or at least mitigates, the mutual alienation in pursuit of an agreed concept of world order?

Is the Russian border to be treated as a permanent zone of confrontation, or can it be shaped into a zone of potential cooperation, and what are the criteria for such a process? These are the questions of European order that need systematic consideration. Either concept requires a defense capability which removes temptation for Russian military pressure.

China

Lady Thatcher’s query regarding out of area issues concerns in our day primarily China and the Middle East. China has launched its “Belt and Road Initiative” as a grand design with political, economic, cultural, and security implications from the East China Sea to the English Channel. It evokes memories of a lecture to the Royal Geographic Society in 1904 by Sir Halford Mackinder, who described the Eurasian Heartland as the geo-strategic pivot of the globe.

By seeking to connect China to Central Asia and eventually to Europe, the new Silk Road will in effect shift the world’s centre of gravity from the Atlantic to the Eurasian landmass. The road traverses an immense diversity of human cultures, nations, beliefs, institutions, and sovereign states. On it lie other great cultures—Russia, India, Iran, and Turkey—and at its extremity the nations of Western Europe, each of whom will have to decide if they will join it, cooperate with it, or oppose it, and in what forms. The complexities for international politics are as staggering as they are compelling.

The “Belt and Road Initiative” is being put forward in an international strategic environment that has been Westphalian, defined by the West’s philosophy of order. But China is unique, transcending the dimension of the Westphalian state: it is at once an ancient civilisation, a state, an empire, and a globalised economy. Inevitably, China will seek adaptation of international order compatible with its historical experience, growing power, and strategic vision.

This evolution will mark the third transformation of China in the last half-century. Mao’s brought unity, Deng’s brought reform, and now, President Xi Jinping is seeking to fulfil what he calls “the Chinese dream”, going back to the late Qing reformers, by realising “the two 100s”. When the People’s Republic of China enters its second hundred years in 2049, it will in Xi’s definition be as powerful as, if not more powerful than, any other society in the world and have the per capita GDP of fully developed countries.

In the process, the United States and China will become the world’s two most consequential countries both economically and geopolitically, obliged to undertake unprecedented adaptations in their traditional thinking. Not since it became a global power after World War II has the United States had to contend with a geopolitical equal. And never in China’s millennia-long history has it conceived of a foreign nation as more than a tributary to it, the Central or “Middle” Kingdom.

Both countries think of themselves as exceptional, albeit in fundamentally different ways: America sees spreading its values and system to other countries as part of its mission; China historically acted on the premise that the majesty of its performance would motivate other countries into a hierarchy based on respect.

In both countries, there exists many opinions about how to reconcile these differences of perspective —whether by the maxims of the nation-state or by new, more globalised concepts, some of which President Xi’s “Chinese dream” exemplify. For both societies — and the rest of the world — their co-evolution is a defining experience of the period.

What will the role of Europe be in such a world? As part of the Atlantic world or as an entity redefining itself and autonomously adjusting to the fluctuations surrounding it? As a component of a transatlantic arrangement? Or as a differential entity whose elements participate in a historic balance of power model? What kind of world order will depend on how transatlantic and “Road and Belt Initiative” concepts are synchronised?

The Middle East

In Eurasia and along Russia’s borders, world order is challenged by the consequences of consolidation. Around the periphery of the Middle East, it is threatened by the turmoil of dissolution. The Westphalian-based system of order that emerged in the Middle East at the end of the First World War is now in a shambles. Four states in the region have ceased to function as sovereign. Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen have become battlegrounds for factions seeking to impose their rule.

Across large areas of Iraq and Syria, an ideologically radical religious army, Isis, has declared itself a relentless foe of modern civilisation, seeking violently to replace the international system’s multiplicity of states with a single Islamic empire governed by Sharia law. In these circumstances, the traditional adage that the enemy of your enemy can be regarded as your friend no longer applies. In the contemporary Middle East, the enemy of your enemy may also be your enemy. The Middle East affects the world by the volatility of its ideologies as much as by its specific actions.

The outside world’s war with Isis can serve as an illustration. Most non-Isis powers—including Shia Iran and the leading Sunni states—agree on the need to destroy it. But which entity is supposed to inherit its territory? A coalition of Sunnis? Or a sphere of influence dominated by Iran? The answer is elusive because Russia and the Nato countries support opposing factions. If the Isis territory is occupied by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Shia forces trained and directed by it, the result could be a territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut, which could mark the emergence of an Iranian radical empire.

The Western calculus has been complicated by the emerging transformation of Turkey, once a key moderating influence, from a secular state into an ideologically Islamic version. At once affecting Europe by its control over the flow of migrants from the Middle East and frustrating Washington by the movement of oil and other goods across its southern border, Turkey’s support of the Sunni cause occurs side by side with its efforts to weaken the autonomy of the Kurds, the majority of whose factions the West has supported heretofore.

The new role of Russia will affect the kind of order that will emerge. Is its goal to assist in the defeat of ISIS and the prevention of comparable entities? Or is it driven by nostalgia for historic quests for strategic domination? If the former, a cooperative policy of the West with Russia could be constructive. If the latter, a recurrence of Cold War patterns is likely. Russia’s attitude towards the control of current Isis territory, sketched above, will be a key test.

The same choice faces the West. It must decide what outcome is compatible with an emerging world order and how it defines it. It cannot commit to a choice based on religious groupings in the abstract since they are themselves divided. Its support must aim for stability and against whatever grouping most threatens stability. And the calculation should include the long term and not be driven by the tactics of the moment.

If the West stays engaged without a geo-strategic plan, chaos will grow. If it withdraws in concept or in fact—as has been the temptation over the past decade—great powers like China and India, which cannot afford chaos along their borders or turmoil within them, will gradually step into the West’s place together with Russia. The pattern of world politics of recent centuries will be overthrown.

These trends involve two implications for the Atlantic Alliance. Insofar as the upheavals on the continents threaten the balance of power, they represent a threat to security. But they also challenge the West to contribute to the building of a new world order. Article V of the Nato Charter defines what must be preserved; it cannot be the end product of Atlantic policy.

NATO was formed in 1949 to protect its members against direct assault by the Soviet Union. It has evolved since into a network of nations combining in various dimensions to react to internationally destabilising situations. But Nato has been more precise in its original objective than in its evolution; it is clearer about its defensive commitments than its role in contributing to world order.

Conceived as a deterrent to a threatening Soviet Union in the process of increasing its arsenal of nuclear weapons to supplement its numerically superior land forces, Nato has been both a legal obligation and an expression of the joint determination of the free nations of the West to enhance their values.

A tradition of American leadership resulted because the American nuclear arsenal has been the ultimate counterweight to Soviet military power. As the decades went by, the Alliance turned increasingly into a unilateral American guarantee rather than an agreed strategic concept relevant to the evolving world.

Lady Thatcher’s concept of the Atlantic Alliance was very different from current realities. She described it as in essence comprised of “America as the dominant power surrounded by allies which generally follow her lead”. This is no longer fully the case. The United States is not leading in the Thatcher mode, and the mindset of too many Europeans is to explore alternatives.

The realities of population, resources, technology, and capital assure a decisive global role for an involved America and a militarily engaged Europe. It will not, however, come about without an agreed strategic and political concept

In today’s rapidly changing world, Nato must engage in a permanent reexamination of its goals and capabilities. The shift in the structures that comprise the contemporary world order should impel Nato and its members to ask themselves: What changes other than the control of the territory of its members will it seek to prevent, and by what means? What are the political goals, and what means is it prepared to assemble?

So let me conclude by repeating the challenge Margaret Thatcher laid down in the Findley Lecture two decades ago:

“What is to be done? I believe that what is now required is a new and imaginative Atlantic initiative. Its purpose must be to redefine Atlanticism in the light of the challenges I have been describing. There are rare moments when history is open and its course changed by means such as these. We may be at just such a moment now.”

Lady Thatcher’s quote reflected, above all, an exhortation and the definition of a task. We are at an even more fraught juncture today.

This is an expanded version of remarks delivered by Dr Kissinger to the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Security, 2017 in June, as prepared for delivery
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.