[FoRK] Reducing defense spending
jbone at place.org
Fri Jun 25 14:46:32 PDT 2010
On Jun 25, 2010, at 4:15 PM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
>> I'm saying, we potentially have even better means for
>> handling things like that today.
> It was M.A.D.
Yeah, I know, that's the elephant in the room. I'm talking about the theater conflicts, particularly the proxies. The notable failures all had many of the common characteristics I'm criticizing. The successes almost all followed the same template: find the guy in situ --- and there's always a guy --- and fund / supply / inform / support him to the end, look the other way at his minor transgressions, do the fixing and path-clearing for him, and tackle the jobs he can't do himself quietly and discretely.
Worked several times, without massive invasions or even much in the way of costs (relatively speaking.)
Of course, that's how we CREATED AQ and Saddam. But that's why you always have a second guy --- to take out the first guy when he gets out of hand. (And the second guy knows that, if and when he becomes your first guy, there's *another* second guy with a bead on him, just waiting for him to fuck up...) And in the case of Afghanistan, we *had* the second guy. A very credible second. We just failed him. Much to the chagrin of all the hard-working cubicle jocks and spooks and ghosts on the ground and sky-truckers that spent years developing and training and supplying him...
No doubt it's a never-ending cycle. One that we've engaged far too often, and one that *usually* eventually has unintended consequences. But a lot better than the clusterfucks we now seem to be getting ourselves into. Like a chronic disease that just needs to be managed.
You can't do M.A.D. these days, agreed. It doesn't work asymmetrically. And it has incentivized proliferation; we have made the cost of NOT developing nukes too high for the would-be emergent players. That's a much thornier game-theoretic problem to solve. I have no answers to that.
> That, and becoming the Last Great SuperPower. Creates obligations, you know. Especially when you have as strong a religious fundamentalist leaning and as strong a conviction of the Rightness of The American Way as those other guys. Gotta bring "democracy" and "human rights" -- as we understand them, of course -- to the heathens.
I don't disagree. The neocons came into their own the day the Wall fell. And they'd been planning for a long time; yet even better planning over decades was demonstrated by that highwire-walking puppet master, Dick.
Me, I'd be Switzerland. But with more BFGs. ;-)
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