Sunday, July 8, 2007

Start small, and stay there.

My new motto.

Thomas P.M. Barnett links to the global incident map and finds it of marginal usefulness. He goes on for a bit and the says:

That was my primary reason in defining the Core-Gap breakdown in the first place: the Core has all sorts of rule sets, the Gap largely lacks them.

Now, work with me for a moment. We recently went through the "Immigration Debate." There's still plenty of fallout to occupy your attention, but let me tease out this: the idea that immigrants (largely code for Mexicans, let's be honest) are coming to Merka for a better life. Of course they are. Unless you're one of the oligarchs fortunate enough to be positioned in the soft-european elite that make up Mexico City, Mexico stinks. So you move.

Brings me to this from my mindmap:

Pretty simple, right (but then most things are)? Compared to the U.S., Mexico is a dysfunctional oil republic, so of course people move. Now, this disrupts our borders, impacts our health care system, and forces change within Merkan borders. So we need to adjust our practices to absorb the influx of people seeking a better life, Right?

Or, we can effect change within Mexico. Get Mexico to start acting in it's own best interest. Which means trending towards a more minimalist rule set. Effect this over time, then Mexicans will only cross the borders to host the Nightly News, like Cannucks currently do (well that and healthcare).

But Mexico is not "our" country. So? It is our problem. Borders bleed.

Now let's extend this.

Barnett's latest in Knoxnews is entitled "Army America needs versus the wars Americans prefer to wage."

Second graph:

The big-war crowd wants to write off Iraq as an aberration, preferring instead to focus on conventional war with rising powers like China. The small-wars faction envisions a future in which messy insurgencies are the norm.

Reminds me of the whole global warming debate. See, global warming is the problem we wished we had.

Sea Fighter. The original Littoral Combat Ship.

Now, the Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense, went from the above, to testbedding the USS Freedom and Independence. Now, I'm not a certified navalogist, but this seems like a dead stick to me (spot the obscure movie reference?). The beauty of sea fighter was in cost (cheap), replication (many copies) and value (crew aside, damn near disposable). She'd give the Navy the ability to be everywhere at once.

But instead, the
Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense went with this slimmed down Arleigh Burke version of the Littoral Combat Ship:

All hat, no cattle. A 2.5in pea shooter (were standard 5inchers considered too aggressive), cost overruns, fewer copies. They're "Big War" hedges. Call me crazy, but which picture represents the foreseeable fight:

There is a big divide, in the ether of Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense.

Between big, expensive and sexy:

And cheap, effective and ugly:

Interesting quote from the wiki:

Some believe that LCS is a "preemptive strike" intended to create a successor to frigates before former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could replace them with "Sea Fighter": a concept for a series of corvette-sized attack boats.

SECDEF (R) Rumsfeld was always a small wars kind of guy. Without any references whatsoever, I believe he sat down in his den, late the night of Sept 11, 2001, scotch in hand, and saw a threat matrix that was mutatable and adaptive. He cheered SOF on horseback, favored Sea Fighter, and killed the Crusader and the Comanche. He did favor going light into Iraq, but didn't foresee the cultural quagmire, one where Merkin soldiers laid down a base of fire on Haifa street, while insurgents responded by laying down a base of fire on E. Capitol St NE. Conventional Popularity is harsh on old Don. History will be kinder.

Somewhere, Don is smiling.

Here's why.

The small war crowd wins. One reason. Necessity.

So, you want a war with China? And you've got it penciled in for the 2040-2050 timeframe? Sure, you're violating one of my geo-strategic maxims, namely, Don't War the People who Cook Well, but hey, have your Big War.

Your problem is getting there. Crossing the badlands.

I'm beginning to see the entire Withdraw from Irak debate as an unimportant side show. Stay, go, no matter. Look, the world's not going to go away because we decide, pace the New York Times Editorial Board, to pick up our toys and go home.

Why did I start with Mexico? To illustrate that one point. Borders Bleed. Mexico's a piker compared to the general nuttiness that out there. If and when we retreat from the great outdoors, and retire to our caves, the general nuttiness will track our footsteps back.

Sure, we'll try to uparmor our culture, but ultimately defensive measures are employed by those unwilling or unable to deal with root causes.

Immigration Reform (dysfunctional Mexico)
Insurgency (Tehran, Damascus and Riyadh)
Poverty (Bad Governance)
Ecological Disasters (Bad Governance)


There is an absolute limit to the amount of uparmor a culture can add (shoeless check-ins, CCTV, cavity searches), before it tips over and falls in a ravine. We'll get there, I suppose.

Barnett ends with this:

This intra-military debate should focus America's attention on the real question at hand: Do we see a future world full of messy Iraqs and Somalias and Haitis? Or should we pull back from that long war focus and prepare for conventional conflict with China?

Given the course of events since 9/11, which pathway seems more realistic to you?

China can wait. But I don't think that's truly the debate.

There's serious money in Big Sexy War. It's an argument the Ground Pounder has been losing to the Air and Sea Lords since the last necessity. WWII. But you know what, you go to war with the Republic you have....

But the nation needs small and ugly.

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