Paddy Ashdown claims that we are living in a moment in history where power is changing in ways it never has before. In a spellbinding talk at TEDxBrussels he outlines the three major global shifts that he sees coming.
Analysis (unattributed). The future is less likely to be what "we" want and more of what others demand. Neither of these solutions, which appear to be two ends of a continuum of US intervention policies, appear to be workable from my perspective. Policy is likely to be grounded in context and the worldwide context is very different. The US will most likely be pulling out of certain regions, developing coalitions in others, and pursuing some unilateral interventions (broadly defined to include MOOTW) in others. We also are in Age where grassroots movements worldwide are toppling oligarchy. What will replace them is uncertain, but it will be a very different world and very difficult to make unilateral policy. The US no longer has the ability to "control" what is going on although we will continue to try to shape things.
Analysis (David Betz). My question is whether this is still insurgency or has it evolved into something else sufficiently different as to be actually something else?
Analysis (Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper, USMC (Ret.)) . Warfare is Warfare
Clausewitz allowed for this with two observations:
(1) "War is more than a chameleon that slightly adapts its characteristics to the given case."
(2) "We can thus only say that the aims a belligerent adopts, and the resources he employs . . . will also conform to the spirit of the age and to its general character."
Our current enemies have adopted wars of insurgency as the form they use to challenge us.
Analysis (Mike Few). I wonder how the U.S. military and government should be organized to adapt to this environment?
For the past four years, I wanted to find reoccurring patterns throughout history that reflect today. Initially, I narrowed it down to 1866-1910, but I am now convinced that we are literally in a period that reflects the beginning of the twentieth century-small protracted wars of limited ends, contested global hegemony, economic shifts with the rise of the middle class and the Industrial Revolution, and the Rise of the West with an nascent American Empire blossoming. Theodore Roosevelt rose to the challenges of the day by building the Panama Canal and sailing the Great White Fleet.
Personally, I feel that the military lessons of Iraq, A'stan, and even Vietnam are not so much on the tactical level, but on the operational bureaucratic level- organization, planning, personnel, leadership, training, processes, etc.