[FoRK] Who would bin Laden vote for?

Owen Byrne owen at permafrost.net
Tue Jul 20 17:33:42 PDT 2004

J. Andrew Rogers wrote:

>Owen Byrne wrote:
>>Gee - funny how that in 1939-1941, thats exactly what the world did - 
>>turn a technologically advanced bloc into a
>>military command economy. Out of necessity.
>Apples and oranges.  A twenty year lead in military technology today is
>a hell of a lot different than a twenty year lead in military technology
>in the first half of the 20th century.  Nor are the economic
>fundamentals in the equation comparable.  And "necessity" doesn't trump
>physics, economics, or other nasty aspects of reality.
I'm sorry - but the US couldn't defeat Vietnam, nor for that matter, 
Iraq. This despite the fact that pacification of
your colonies seems to be the war you train for. The last time the US 
faced a real military power - Korea - the Chinese
discovered that US soldiers are very good at running away.

>To have a chance of catching up, you would have to spend several times
>what the US spends, which has at least two obvious problems.  First, the
>poorer economies of technologically capable blocs (e.g. the EU) would
>make it very difficult as a practical matter.  For example, it would be
>economically painful for the EU to spend as much as the US spends right
>now.  Spending 3-4x what the US spends would put it in a USSR style
>economic death spiral because the US could easily afford to double what
>it spends just to watch the EU eat itself trying to catch up.  The
>second problem is just a variation on this: the US is a significant
>enough portion of world GDP that it puts a relatively hard cap in
>absolute terms on another blocs ability to outspend the US to any
>significant extent.  The US is currently 30% of the world's GDP, and if
>you add Japan to the mix (a country unlikely to be part of an anti-US
>bloc), you are getting close to half the world's GDP.  In other words,
>you would not only have to marshal the rest of the world's GDP, you
>would have to grow it massively to have a real prayer.  And most other
>countries have a really lousy track record at growing GDP
>So it is not gonna happen, even in your wildest wet dream.  Not only is
>it highly impractical and unrealistic, but a lot of countries would see
>it as foolhardy and defect to the arguably safer American team, push
>come to shove.
Actually I think the (obvious) solution to your points is already in 
1. Asymmetric warfare - hit 'em where they ain't
2. Sow discontent amongst their allies. Ideally the US should be left 
3. Get them to invade foreign  countries to stretch their resources and 
leave more vulnerabities to use 1. against.


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