Good week for Juicebox Mafia Fiskings, we had Weinstein yesterday and he popped up in the comments to say "Thank you sir, may I have another". Today the most over-rated "intellectual" on the left, Matthew Yglesias. There is just absolutely nothing this strategy powerhouse is not willing to put his mighty brain to cogitating on. He shares with us his thumbnail sketch of a progressive military force structure and mission. Needless to say it is up to his usual standard of comedic brilliance. But first let's get his disclaimer, which was at the end, but I figgered you should see it before you evaluate his masterpiece.
Anyways, that’s the upshot of a couple of hours’ worth of thinking and a chat with a coworker, not real research or deep thinking. But I thought I’d put it out there for discussion.
Well God bless you Matt. what would we do if we didn't have shining examples of liberalism's myopic blindness to the realities of the world like your self. I mean you can just sit there and-
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Seriously dude, you could have spent those couple of hours doing something constructive like meditating and then not telling anyone all the inane, naive and unhelpful ideas that raced through your squash like crack-addled rhesus monkeys. No what am I saying, then we wouldn't have this cogent commentary.
The beginning of the framework is that we should reduce the scale of our economic commitment to the military, which over time means not just fiddling with procurement but actually doing less and having a smaller force structure.
You know Matt, I would love to live in a world where we could be actually doing less, but you see it is usually other forces that move us to action. Now I know it is conventional liberal wisdom that we invaded Iraq for oil, but just out of curiosity how many oil contracts do US companies hold there now? Nope lower...lower...that's right zero. I assume you will grant that we had cause to stomp a mudhole in the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Vietnam? Reaction to invasion of an ally. Korea? Reaction to invasion of an ally. Grenada and Panama were police actions, and I know you will get around to Team America World Police later in your musings. OK keep feeding us the pure-ass heat brother.
Less what? In particular, I think we should actually move away from the COIN/MOOTW paradigm and focus on the idea of deterring and defeating military attacks on the United States and sundry allies. It should be possible to do that without representing 50 percent of global defense expenditures, especially when the allies in question are generally the richest countries on earth.*
There is no COIN/MOOTW paradigm. There are COIN and MOOTW capabilities that we employ as strategy and tactics but they are only some of the weapons in our arsenal.
I think COIN has a poor track record of success, a terrible track record in a cost/benefit sense, and that the self-conscious development of COIN capabilities risks inducing demand for military action. When someone asks “what’s the point of having this magnificent military if you’re not going to use it” I want the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to have a very good answer at his disposal like “it’s there so that we don’t have to use it” not “eh, maybe so.”
Again we are blessed to have the results of your thinking, but on what do you base your "thought" that COIN has a poor track record? Did we not employ it successfully in Iraq? I know that you have blocked that out of your mind, but those of us who "think" about this stuff for more than a couple hours haven't. We never actually employed a population-centric COIN strategy in Afghanistan. Bush never did, and Obama's mini-surge provided less than half of the troops required to do that mission. Oh yeah and he stabbed everyone involved in A-Stan in the back when he announced our withdrawal. So COIN has been tried once by us post WWII and it worked. I guess a record of 100% success doesn't impress an extra credit, apple-polishing smarty pants like you. You probably rocked 4.2 GPAs, well above 100%. But hey let's finish out your poorly thought out, childishly-simple suggestion for whirled peas.
That said, wars undertaken for perfectly good reasons of collective self-defense can swiftly turn into situations that require post-conflict stabilization. North Korea might attack South Korea in a way that demands response, and the response could well lead to the collapse of the DPRK state requiring the victorious allies to administer former DPRK territory. So it’s not smart to just say “COIN is bad, so let’s make sure we can’t do it and then hope for the best.”
Holy shite, a paragraph I can agree with. Be alert for lightning strikes, flying pigs and dogs and cats living together. We do have a tremendous hole in our Stability Operations game. But hey I'm sure he will get right back off the rails. Tell us about the gendarmerie Matt.
What we need, I think, is some form of American gendarmerie—a quasi-military federal organization specialized in police/security functions rather than finding and killing bad guys per se. Such a force would, unlike today’s military, have a valuable peacetime domestic role to play as a flexible auxiliary police force that could assist high-crime jurisdictions with the kind of temporary infusion of extra personnel that can help push crime rates down to a lower equilibrium.** A “surge” if you will. But it would also be prepared to deploy abroad in the case of contingencies. The regular military would be big enough to beat an adversary (i.e., a lot smaller than the regular one) but it would need to call on the gendarmes (who naturally would need a less French name) to conduct an occupation. This means we wouldn’t be caught lacking capacity in a real emergency, but since the gendarmes would be performing a useful peacetime domestic service politicians would (appropriately) feel that initiating situations that require their mobilization is high cost situation that ought to be avoided if possible.
I'm pleased to note that you note that Americans are not likely to cotton to having a police force called the gendarmerie. But dude, it's not just the silly Frog name, it's the very idea of a national police force. You seem to think we could just have these guys crackin' heads in high crime areas in the US and then when some crap hole overseas catches fire they hop a bird over there and play Team America World Police. No offense buddy but I'd feel more comfortable by far with Matt Stone and Trey Parker planning our contingency ops than you.
First of all there has got to be a Posse Comitatus problem with your cunning plan. But even so, C'mon Man! You downsize the military, but claim it will still be big enough to defeat an adversary. Really? How big is that? What adversary? Then you will deploy your re-branded gendarmes to enforce peace. But you assume this arrangement would make it more difficult for domestic politicians to do any warring since the gendarmes will be busy making our cities Shangri-Las. We can't deploy our gendarmes? Who will help the poor children with their homework? If we have a threat that requires us to use our military, we should never preclude answering it because we want our uber-cops back home lecturing crack dealers on the errors of their ways.
OK thankfully his multiple hour brainstorming session only produced this many useless ideas. Hey Matt, next time why don't you focus your half-assed efforts on the Middle East? You oughta be able to come up with a completely, bone-ass stupid solution to that in say....half a day and a trip to the coffee shop with a co-worker who once visited Beirut. I am gonna go beat my head against the wall to shake out some of the garbage you just put in there.