26 November 2012

Exit Planning for the Empire

In military planning, going somewhere and breaking things is relatively easy to plan.  Getting out of there is another thing entirely.

We still have troops in Germany, Japan, and Korea.  They are stable democracies (now) that are valued trade partners (now).  Meanwhile Central and South America have been SOCOM playgrounds for the last few decades, and with the exception of Hugo "I smell sulfur" Chavez, relatively good trade partners.

We went into WWII without an exit strategy, and turned Germany into ground zero for the conventional Cold War.  We went into Korea without an exit strategy and ended up playing "who blinks first" with the Norks for six decades.  We went into Japan without an exit strategy and ended up installing a military governor.

What sort of nation acts that way?  To conscript their citizens and send them to occupy foreign lands?  Empires.  And all empires fall.  And all empires have an Emperor. 

If I were emperor, my policy would be thus.  We don't go to war with anyone not worth occupying.  That means an industrious people with a solid grasp of literacy and mathematics.  It is easy to work with the Japanese or Germans.  Or even Indians (God bless their continually occupied hearts).

Vietnam?  Who really cares if some jerkwater nation on the backside of nowhere falls to communism?  It only means that the jerkwater nation beat us to our endpoint by a few decades.  Kuwait on the other hand, invade, save that valued trade partner!

The true value of a nation is not in a particular resource, but in people willing to turn resource into wealth and engage in trade.  I wouldn't wage war based on "keeping people free" or any altruistic goal.  I would wage war on building a profitable peace to follow.

Slowly but surely the world would be made better, as our trading partners prospered, and those who didn't trade didn't prosper (that is the other side of the foreign policy gambit).  You don't have to go to war with a country to wreck their economy.  If only I were Emperor.  Then again, I'm sure my domestic policies would be a proper mess.


Anonymous said...

You're pulling your punches, right? That wasn't serious?

We occupied both Germany and Japan because with Germany, pulling shit twice in one century was enough, and Japan because they had it coming.

And oh, surprise surprise! The Russians turned out to be Not Our BFFs After All, which was only a surprise to FDR's cabinet leftovers, most of whom had more communists working for them than Harvard and Yale do today.

So Germnay and Japan made convenient bookends for our vodka-swilling socialist ersatz friends. So did China until Mao threw Chiang's incompetent ass out. Other handy allies were Greece, Turkey, and Iran, all of whom (!) "Just happened to border the Motherland of Communism.

It was known as "containment". They must have covered this somewhere, sometime, right? You know this and you're just screwing with us?

And if Vietnam and Korea had only been about Vietnam and Korea, there'd be a point. But it made it possible to kick each other in the balls without nuking Moscow. In Korea, the Chinese hordes and Russian MiG pilots got the ever loving shit kicked out of them. In Vietnam, it was Chinese MiG pilots and ground advisors and Russan SAM baterries, but the lesson was the same. By Afghanistan, we showed the Russians that our Stingers could trump their Hinds 6 times a week and twice on Sunday. When they ran out of chips, the Soviet Union folded. They were good like that, because while being sneaky drunken conniving SOBs, we could count on the Russians not to want to see Moscow turned to glass.

On the other hand, we have our 4-decade festering sore with jihadis. The foolishness crept in with the asinine "if you break it, you own it" swill plopped out by Colon Powell. (See what affirmative actions gets you? A competent general becomes a hopelessly inept SecState.) No, General. You break it, because it needed to be broken, and you pick up a particularly jagged piece and grind it into their eye. Then they'll have one eye left to remember why you broke it and gouged the other eye out.

Because the last time we dealt with religious fanatic death lovers who wouldn't surrender, we nuked their asses - twice, to make sure the lesson sunk in - and toppled the head of their religion.

The minute we get a leader who helps fanatical jihadis recall that lesson will be the end of jihad, and the beginning of that backwards region climbing out of the 6th century. Or we'll nuke Mecca and Medina, and pump the oil ourselves from our newest colony, East Texas. (A subtle reminder to Hugo IthinkI'mGod Chavez that we currently have 11M illegal alien hispanics who work hard, know how to run oil wells, already speak Spanish, don't miss Mexico, and might find themselves in Caracas shortly - say, next month - would give him pause as well.)
And the oil-starved nations of Europe will fall all over themselves to thank is, at least in private, for doing what they haven't got the balls for, and settling the hash for another 50-100 years.

All that assumes our Other Affirmative Action Nightmare doesn't let them do it to us first by taking out a port in N.Y. or L.A. before the blessed 22nd Amendment returns him to the private sector, so he can snag $50K@speech for embarassing Not-His-Native-Country, and blaming Israel and W for all the ills of the world.

70 years in 70 lines, amigo.
Our stated policy should be "screw with us and you'll be rebuilding your country for 90 years. And then we'll bomb it again. Or, you can behave, fly rightside up, and make pantloads of money trading with us. You choose."

Plomo o plato doesn't just work with druglords.


Anonymous said...

Interesting perspective Aesop. So I've got to ask as inquiring minds want to know. Why don't you have a blog? Seems like you have a lot of valuable input.


Anonymous said...

What leads you to think I don't?

Honestly, I've had and killed several, most of them because I go long stretches without the interest or spare time to continually keep them going.

Currently, on-call work is slow, and with election follies and the billowing clouds of doom, there's been both time and fodder. Two months from now who knows. I also plead inconvenience, since when I moved to my current location back before Algore invented the internet, I unknowingly chose the future location of the sketchiest internet service black hole in any suburb west of the Colorado River, although it's rumored they may someday cobble something up from heligraphs, telegraph wires, and old model train transformers "any month now" whenever I call the two likeliest service providers.

I also don't want the liability, as potential employers have come to see the intarwebz as part of their pre-employment data mine. A rather dull FBI minion could connect me to my posts in less time than it took to out the head of the CIA. But gathering them together in one place for the generally 3rd rate functionaries of corporate America would open quite a can of worms, as about 95% of my frequent employers regard gun ownership, support for the military, and political conservatism on its best day as somewhere between child porn production and bestiality porn production, on their absolute moral scale. So no sense rubbing their noses in who they've been supporting all these years. Simpler to take the shilling, and go about drilling holes below their waterline day in and day out on my own time.


Anonymous said...

Great VFW tough talk from Aesop, and of course not altogether untrue or wrongheaded. But as was noted by AM, America is an empire and tough talking VFWers are now outnumbered by dependents of the left.

He's grandpa at the table, a man from a time when the reactionairies were the adults, but now he is just grandpa at the table surrounded by brats who joke about his Depends and scorn his "racist" tendencies. RobRoy who wants the empire gone

AM said...

Aesop, this post was meant to be read with humor intended, sort of a "darkly funny" look at what we consider successful wars verses unsuccessful wars, and why they are made so in light of economic realities.

Think of it as the economic counter model to the containment doctrine. The reason why Empires crumble is military expansion combined with bad financing. The reason that China hasn't repeated that mistake is that it went on an economic conquest first. It is something that I've been pondering, and sometimes it is easiest to bring up serious ideas in a silly sort of way to break the ice.

Anonymous said...

Having the gist of the post, but not the actual text in front of me as I wrote, you may have noted we arrived at almost the same place.


AM said...

True, but the point counterpoint is that sometimes you can win through other means. Reagan got a lot of credit for "winning the arms race" against the Soviets, when it was an increase in wheat prices combined with a decrease in oil prices that caused the economic implosion of the "evil empire."

So sometimes getting in a jerkwater proxy war is just stupid, and sometimes "peace through strength" is a viable foreign policy (it kept Sweden out of WWII).

Isolationism worked for Japan during the Meiji restoration, but they stagnated in progress even as they refined as a culture. Isolation is the first step to ossification as a culture, which is the first step to being defeated by a culture that adapts.

China sees economic warfare as the wave of the future, and they are right.

RegT said...


Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that part of the collapse of the old USSR was due to their unsupportable expenditures on their military - as in Afghanistan - and not simply the economic damage due to wheat and oil commodities.

I don't worship at the altar of Reagan (although I believe he had more integrity than most politicians, especially the presidents who have followed him), but I think we do have to give him credit for _helping_ to push the Russkies over the edge.

AM said...


I think you are wrong, but even historians debate this. When Reagan began building the military, it did not cause a significant increase in Soviet military capabilities (Reagan was actually trying to raise our force level to some sort of parity).

The change in commodity prices that had effects on the Soviet economy make a much better explanation for the collapse.



Anonymous said...

Let's be reasonable:

We found out at multiple steps that our technology was a generation or more ahead of the Soviet Union's at every turn from 1946-1989.

All they had going was was bare adequacy, coupled with overwhelming numbers.

January 1991 showed the ultimate endpoint of that contest.

When Reagan announced the willingness to counter Soviet numbers with a missile defense technology (never mind its realworld viability)that the Soviets couldn't hope to challenge or defeat, let alone ever afford, Gorbachev starting talking "glasnost" and "perestroika" like a Communist with Capitalist Tourette's.

And China only embraces economic warfare because militarily, they've been held to a draw by the US, the Soviet Union, India, and Vietnam, in head-on force-on-force contests. Their military record rivals the French. there is a reason their empire was the world's bitch for centuries.

When all you have is a hammer, all your problems appear as nails. But when your only hammer is a tack hammer, it's probably best to learn how to operate a screwdriver.


AM said...

Interesting, the Soviets were first in space and Russia still has a viable space program. Knowing what I know about recent Red Flag exercises with foreign military forces using that "generation behind" Russian equipment, you are talking out your ass (don't get me started on vehicle to vehicle comparison, the T90 is quite formidable). There is a reason the Air Force has been pushing so hard to keep the F-22 in the air, and get the F35 into full production.

Why don't you go learn some history about the Gulf War? We built up combat power in the Saudi desert for six months. We bullied every European Contractor that had ever done any work for Iraq into spilling their guts. We pulled every ally we could into the fight, including Muslim countries that Saddam had counted on helping him when he tried to drag Israel into the fight. We fought the battle in the Pentagon with multiple planning cells. One piece at a time we brought down the KARI IADS and to gain air supremacy. Saddam set his forces like pieces on a chessboard and then gave us six months to solve the problem.

Letting a hostile force have six months to build up next to your border is definitely not the Soviet model. That was Saddam's foolishness, and that is another story.

You dismiss China as France. And yet France conquered most of Europe under a single competent military commander.

Before that the Chinese conquered most of Asia minus the subcontinent, and when they were conquered by Mongols, they made their captors Chinese inside of three generations. This is the culture that produce Sun Tzu, it would be stupid to underestimate them.

Dismiss your enemy if you like, believe in American technology and know how if you like. I can fix ignorance by providing facts and figures. I cannot fix stupid.