Small Wars Journal

Looking for Friends: Green Berets are Busy in China’s Backyard

Looking for Friends: Green Berets are Busy in China’s Backyard by Kyle Rempfer – Army Times

The United States wants to be the preferred military partner for the countries surrounding China, and the Army’s 1st Special Forces Group has been working that angle for decades.

But this year has seen new lines of effort.

From deploying a response team to Sri Lanka after the Easter Sunday bombings, to kickstarting a new Mongolian trainer force, to training with Philippine troops to retake islands from a peer adversary in the South China Sea, 1st Group has been busy.

“The fundamentals remain the same,” Col. Owen Ray, commander of 1st Group, said at the Pentagon Wednesday. “Long-standing relations are what endure. Those are what give us a comparative advantage against near-peer competitors.”…

Read on.

Comments

Bill C.

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 12:41pm

From our article above:

BEGIN QUOTE

Curran said he’s been rotating in and out of Asia for 20 years. One Thai military officer he grew close to in that time and who now leads an elite counter-terrorism force has often come to the United States for training, including attending Special Forces Qualification Course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“[He’s] very pro-American,” Curran said. “His subordinate captains, who he’s bringing up and who he’s going to carry with him through the hierarchy of the Thai military, had no desire to come to the United States.”

“They want to go train in Russia and China,” Curran added. “That’s one of the impacts we notice at the ground level.”

Authoritarian upswings and regional politics can make it difficult to justify to Congress and the American public why the Pentagon is working with certain countries’ security forces. But keeping those programs running through turbulent times, or at least doubling down when it’s feasible to restart them, can yield benefits in the long run.

END QUOTE

Thus, as with my comment at the current Small Wars Blog item Green Berets Train Polish, Latvian Resistance Units in West Virginiashould we see -- based on, for example, the "they want to go train in Russia and China" notation above -- that:

a.  While OUR national security personnel are guarding the "front door" -- the physical border/barrier -- between (a) such countries as Russia and China and (b) states and societies that are our allies/that we consider important,

b. THEIR nation security personnel are attacking through the "back door" -- the intellectual border/barrier -- between these such entities.

1.  Thus to ask: 

Where are our "intellectual" troops -- our "ideological" special forces -- whom we can employ and deploy -- to stand hard against, defeat and indeed reverse such things as:

a.  The "rise of authoritarianism" existential threat

b.  Addressed in our article here (see the final paragraph of my quoted item above)?

2.  Possible answer to this question:

With the Brexit and the election of President Trump, these such critical "intellectual"/"ideological" assets have been "shit-canned"/"thrown under the bus"/"cashiered," as noted, for example, below:

“It is in our interests – those of Britain and America together – to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe.  This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/theresa-may-donald-trump-us-uk-no-longer-foreign-intervention-iraq-afghanistan-a7548551.html

President Donald Trump:

"We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government, but we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.”

“Strong sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect.”

https://qz.com/1081499/unga-2017-trump-mentioned-sovereignty-21-times-in-a-speech-heralding-a-new-american-view-of-the-world/

Bottom Line Thought -- Based on the Above:

Thus, "war" today (in the sense of the Old Cold War for example); this seems to look like:

a.  Going against the enemy

b.  With one hand (your incredibly potent intellectual/ideological "weaponry?") tied behind your back/no longer available to you. 

(Or, indeed if you consider Trump a pro-authoritarian, going to war with the enemy -- prominently placed -- actually within your own camp?)