Small Wars Journal

5/31/2020 News & Commentary – National Security

Sun, 05/31/2020 - 12:25pm

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Riley Murray.

1. Wars without end: why is there no peaceful solution to so much global conflict?

2. China Could Use More Populism by Matt Pottinger

3. The Inevitability of Tragedy review: a life of Henry Kissinger for our Trumpian times

4. Testing Is Key to Beating Coronavirus, Right? Japan Has Other Ideas

5. America's Geostrategic Triangle Tussle Takes Center Stage During the Coronavirus

6. Build a Better Blob: Foreign Policy Is Not a Binary Choice Between Trumpism and Discredited Elites

7. How to fix the WHO, according to an expert

8. If all you have is a sanctions hammer, every foreign policy issue looks like a nail

9. Now Is the Right Time for a Trade Agreement with Taiwan

10. We Need to Take China More Seriously-And That Means Being Humble

11. India and China are actually far from a war

12. Trump's Policy Changes on China Likely to Draw Pushback

13. Is Beijing preparing to decouple from the US?

14. Towards a Concept of Good Civilian Guidance

15. Final SFAB activates with upcoming missions in Asia, as Army plans a Pacific Pathways restart

16. Secret sacrifice: the agents who risked all behind Nazi lines

 

1. Wars without end: why is there no peaceful solution to so much global conflict?

The Guardian · by Simon Tisdall · May 31, 2020

The subtitle of this article says it all. Remember when we called the war on terrorism "the long war" and how much criticism that created.  But the study discussed in this article says 60% of the world's wars have lasted for at least a decade.  And Simon Tisdall asks the key question: Have these "long wars" (endless conflict) become normalized?  He covers a list of "small wars."  The question may be better framed: Why do small wars become long wars?  Perhaps we should examine that before we embark on the next small war.  I think LTG Fridovich offers a way for us to understand this phenomenon. 

"History shows us that wars of this nature are routinely "won" by the indigenous forces supported by a well-established, flat network of supporters, fighters and auxiliary. A disciplined, centralized command and control system coupled with a decentralized arm of execution and multiple means of support are their means for achieving a well understood political end state. This method has generally proven successful globally as long as the leadership is rapidly adaptable to changes on the multitude of global, regional, and tactical battlefields in which they operate." 

- LTG (RET) David Fridovich 

 

2. China Could Use More Populism by Matt Pottinger

Wall Street Journal – Matt Pottinger – May 29, 2020

An interesting perspective from our Deputy National Security Advisor.

 

3. The Inevitability of Tragedy review: a life of Henry Kissinger for our Trumpian times

The Guardian · by Lloyd Green · May 31, 2020

A review essay of a new biography of Kissinger.  Some good food for thought.

 

4. Testing Is Key to Beating Coronavirus, Right? Japan Has Other Ideas

The New York Times · by Ben Dooley · May 29, 2020

So, the emphasis was on contact tracing and containing small outbreaks based on testing only those with the most severe symptoms.  Was Japan good or just lucky?  Were the conditions in Japan unique or are there lessons to be learned?

 

5. America's Geostrategic Triangle Tussle Takes Center Stage During the Coronavirus

The National Interest · by George Beebe · May 28, 2020

Assumption to be challenged:  Would a less offensive American tone reduce Russian-Chinese cooperation against the US?

Question:  How much actually cooperation is there or is each exploiting the conditions caused by the other?

This is the buried lead that we must ponder: can "a deeply indebted and politically divided the United States ... sustain an unconstrained arms race and that the combined capacities of contemporary Russia and China represent a much more formidable opponent than the Soviet Union once did."  And if so how?

 

6. Build a Better Blob: Foreign Policy Is Not a Binary Choice Between Trumpism and Discredited Elites

Foreign Affairs · by Emma Ashford · May 29, 2020

This is an analysis of Ben Rhodes versus Hal Brands, Peter Feaver, and William Inboden.

The first thing that should be done is to do away with the name the Blob.  

Or maybe we need to get Steve McQueen to take on the Blob.  The trailer below seems to be a metaphor for today (mass hysteria, etc).

1958 Movie “The Blob” starring Steve McQueen

An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtf5P1L-6M4

 

7. How to fix the WHO, according to an expert

Vox · by Jen Kirby · April 19, 2020

This was written before our decision to withdraw from the WHO but perhaps it provides some useful food for thought, even with criticism of the US.  I think it is a mistake to withdraw from the WHO.  We are ceding influence to China and retired from a key political warfare battleground.  We need to fight to reduce Chinese malign influence in international organizations.  Withdrawing from those organizations if not going to protect US interests.  We need to fight our superior form of political warfare.

 

8. If all you have is a sanctions hammer, every foreign policy issue looks like a nail

Washington Examiner · by Daniel DePetris · May 31, 2020

I hear this criticism a lot especially in terms of north Korea.  Maybe the malign revisionist and rogue powers are a bunch of nails?  But sanctions are one tool.  They support the   instruments of economic, diplomatic, informational, and even military instruments of power.  Most important they support policy and strategy. Rather than criticize sanctions perhaps we should examine the broader policies and the strategy.

Sanctions can be an effective tool on multiple levels.  But the question I always have if you do want to have sanctions or you advocate lifting of sanctions without compliance what malign behavior do you to tolerate or permit?  In north Korea's case do you want to tolerate the north's nuclear and missile program? Do you want to turn a blind eye to all the illicit activities conducted by the regime - drug trafficking, counterfeiting, overseas slave labor weapons proliferation?  Do you want to be complicit in the human rights abuses against the Korean people living in the north? 

On the other hand, do you think lifting of sanctions is going to change malign behavior of revisionist and rogue powers? 

 

9. Now Is the Right Time for a Trade Agreement with Taiwan

csis.org · by Senior Adviser (Non-resident), Simon Chair in Political Economy

As China hands usually mentor me, what are we willing to tolerate in terms of the PRC response to this? Is the benefit with the PRC response?

 

10. We Need to Take China More Seriously-And That Means Being Humble

The National Interest · by Christopher A. Preble · May 30, 2020

Being humble does not mean being weak or submissive.  The question implied in Chris' essay is what effects do we seek to achieve?  And then the follow-on question, what effects can we achieve?

 

11. India and China are actually far from a war

gulfnews.com · by Sanjib Kumar Das, Senior Pages Editor

I hope the headline is accurate.  We certainly do not want to see the effects of war between China and India.  But those who assume there will not be war violate Sun Tzu. "Do not assume your enemy will not attack, make yourself invincible." 

 

12. Trump's Policy Changes on China Likely to Draw Pushback

Wall Street Journal – Sha Hua – May 30, 2020

There will always be second and third order effects that will generate pushback. The question remains what effects do we want to achieve and how do we best protect our national interests?

 

13. Is Beijing preparing to decouple from the US?

South China Morning Post – Zhang Lin – 31 May 2020

An interesting question.  The author assesses the Chinese are preparing for a bigger economic problem when the decoupling occurs.

 

14. Towards a Concept of Good Civilian Guidance

warontherocks.com · by Alice Hunt Friend and Mara Karlin· May 29, 2020

You do have to love the basic conundrum outlined in this piece.  "The military wants objectives; civilian policy makers want options. Policy makers ask for options, the military asks what are your objectives."

One of the phenomena I have observed is that if the military does not receive objectives, they will make assumptions about those objectives in order to develop options.  Sometimes these assumed objectives become actual objectives (which is often a function of the adage, I do not know what I want until I see it).

This provides some very useful food for thought that should be discussed between civilian policy makers and strategists and military leaders and planners.

 

15. Final SFAB activates with upcoming missions in Asia, as Army plans a Pacific Pathways restart

armytimes.com · by Kyle Rempfer · May 29, 2020

I think now the SFABs have been or will be deployed in all theaters (unless they have not been deployed to EUCOM but I think they have for sure in CENTCOM and PACOM and will soon be deployed in SOUTHCOM and possibly AFRICOM).

I have to take some exception to GEN McConville's comments.  With all due respect one of the problems we have had since 9-11 is the false assumption that Foreign Internal Defense (FID) is s SOF-exclusive operation.  The fact is FID is a US government agency and military mission to advise and assist a host nation with its internal defense and development programs in order for the host national to defend itself from lawless, subversion, insurgency, and terrorism.  When the debate about Security Force Assistance (SFA) started around 2007-2008 some of our action officers did a comparison of FID doctrine and the proposed SFA mission.  The major difference ended up being FID was focused on internal threats to the host nation and SFA was included external threats.  Our recommendation was to revise FID doctrine to include external threats.  In a way that is what ended up happening (of course security assistance and security cooperation also have an external component).  The JCS Doctrine for FID (JP 3-22) describes the interrelationship between FID and SFA as well as Security Cooperation and Security Assistance. On page I-11.  It graphically describes Foreign Internal Defense and three overarching integrated security activities:

1. Indirect Support: Security Assistance Security Cooperation, Exchange Programs, Joint Multinational Exercises.

2. Direct Support (not involving combat operations): Civil-Military Operations, Military Information Support Operations, Logistic Support, Intelligence Cooperation, Operations Security, Cybersecurity Assistance, Security Force Assistance

3. Combat Operations (yes there is such a thing as Combat FID)

Security force assistance encompasses joint force activities conducted within unified action to organize, train, equip, rebuild/build, advise, and assist FSF in support of an HN's efforts to plan and resource, generate, employ, transition, and sustain local, HN, or regional security forces and their supporting institutions. This includes activities from the ministry level to the tactical units and the national security sector. 

https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/jp3_22.pdf?ver=2018-10-10-112450-103

 

16.  Secret sacrifice: the agents who risked all behind Nazi lines

The Guardian · by Gareth Rubin · May 31, 2020

Hopefully, BBC America will broadcast this as well. We can still learn much from the SOE (just as the OSS did and as we can learn from the OSS as well).

 

 

"History shows us that wars of this nature are routinely "won" by the indigenous forces supported by a well established, flat network of supporters, fighters and auxiliary. A disciplined, centralized command and control system coupled with a decentralized arm of execution and multiple means of support are their means for achieving a well understood political end state. This method has generally proven successful globally as long as the leadership is rapidly adaptable to changes on the multitude of global, regional, and tactical battlefields in which they operate." 

- LTG (RET) David Fridovich 

 

"I personally measure success in terms of the contribution an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings."

-Margaret Mead

 

"To tend, unfailingly, unflinchingly, towards a goal is the secret of success. But success? What exactly is success? For me it is to be found not in applause, but in the satisfaction of feeling that one is realizing one's ideal."

-Anna Pavlova

Categories: News

Comments

I've not been able to determine if the SFABs have police-advising as part of their mission set.  Does anyone know if they are expected/ equipped to do that?