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War Analysis - (Corporate Intelligence Service)

Posted by: bill on May 04, 1999 at 17:46:29:

The following exerpts from an analysis comes from a corporate intelligence gathering service [STRATFOR]. As one can see, when money is involved, it is hard headed fare rather than the sop we are fed daily in the press. The subject of human values is quite irrelevant to corporate concerns. As its statement of purpose states:

In our increasingly complex, interconnected world, businesses are constantly assaulted by the unknown and the unexpected. Risk threatens everywhere, in ways both exotic and mundane. You must have the understanding needed to make the right decisions. In the endless sea of new available data each day are the threads and patterns of information that are critical to your success.



"This will end an era that began with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in
August 1990. The United States, under President Bush, determined
that the Iraqi invasion was unacceptable. His precise reasoning was
not as clear as one might think. Part of the reasoning was strategic.
Part of it was his repugnance at one nation seizing another. But the
core of the intervention was that in a global, strategic sense, it was
risk free. Certainly, there was a risk of casualties. However, there
were two assumptions on which the intervention rested. The first was
that if the United States chose to intervene, it could create, at will, an international coalition to carry out the invasion. The second
assumption was that this coalition could in fact liberate Kuwait. In
other words, the issue that framed Bush's decision was whether such an intervention was desirable and not whether such an intervention was possible.

The intervention in Iraq was the first of a series of interventions that included Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and now Kosovo. Not all of these
ended well. Somalia was, by any measure, a failure. The Haitian
invasion displaced the former government but no one would argue
that Haiti has been lifted out of its misery. Bosnia was intended to be
a short-term intervention but has become a permanent presence. But none of these interventions have forced the United States to face the core question: what are the limits of American power? The Clinton administration faced the intervention in Kosovo as a question of whether the United States would intervene and whether we would
permit Serbia to retain sovereignty over Kosovo. It failed to ask the
more important question of whether the United States and its allies
had the military power in place to achieve its political ends, and
whether the amount of military power required should be spent in a
place like Kosovo. The United States simply assumed, without the
meticulous analysis required, that it had the needed power. It did not.

Thus, the decade begun in Kuwait ends in the skies over Serbia. No
American government will, in the near future at least, simply assume
that it has the military power needed to impose its will. This is,
obviously, a healthy lesson to learn. There is a vast difference
between being the greatest military power in the world and
omnipotence. The United States rules the seas and can, wherever it
chooses, rule the skies. This is not the same as being able to compel other nations to capitulate on matters of fundamental national importance. It must always be remembered that demographics never favor intervention in Eurasia. American ground forces are always outnumbered whenever they set foot in Eurasia. Sometimes air and naval superiority along with superior technology and training can compensate for this demographic imbalance. Sometimes it cannot. Sometimes it can compensate only after a build-up taking many months, as in Desert Storm. The casual assumption that the general superiority of U.S. military power
inevitably translates into quick victory in any specific circumstance is obviously wrong and the point has been finally driven home....

We expect two parallel processes to emerge after Kosovo. We will
see a much more passive, indeed, isolationist United States. The
hair-trigger assumption of responsibility for Eurasian problems will
be replaced by a much more cautious calculation not only of moral
considerations, but also of costs and the national interest. The
second process, paradoxically, will be a substantial increase in
American defense spending. The Kosovo exercise has clearly
demonstrated that the draw-down in U.S. military forces has limited
American military effectiveness. Military options that were available
to President Bush are simply not available, in anywhere near as
lavish a quantity, to President Clinton. There is no question of any
further cuts in defense spending. The only issue now is how much
defense spending will be increased?

The United States will be withdrawing from its aggressive leadership
position not solely because it wishes to do so. It will be withdrawing
because it has seriously lost the trust of many of its NATO allies.
Except for the UK, the rest of NATO has been simply appalled by the
U.S. management of the entire affair. The end game is being crafted
by Germany, Italy, and Russia because the United States simply
locked itself into a position from which it could neither retreat nor go forward. It very quickly became apparent that the air war was not
going to force a Serbian capitulation. Rather than commence
compensating maneuvers, the United States insisted on rigidity and
bellicosity, without developing a crushing military strategy...."


A close reading of the entire analysis, which at first presents itself as a justifiable critique of U.S. stupidity and/or arrogance, seems to finally conclude that the military option remains...if conducted with sufficiently massive force. Ugh.

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