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Use of Force. Lsn 15. Use of Force. The use of force almost always represents the partial failure of policy War is a continuation of “policy” (or “politics”) by other means. Clausewitz Because of the high costs of violence, the use of force is tempered by restraints and bargaining

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Use of Force

Lsn 15


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Use of Force

  • The use of force almost always represents the partial failure of policy

    • War is a continuation of “policy” (or “politics”) by other means.

      • Clausewitz

  • Because of the high costs of violence, the use of force is tempered by restraints and bargaining

    • Even if countries differ enough to go to war, they usually share some common interests that will encourage them to continue bargaining

    • Only in the case of a “zero sum” situation in which everything is good for one side and bad for the other does the motivation to bargain not exist


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Use of Force

  • The distinction between diplomacy and force is in the relation between adversaries

    • Diplomatic bargaining seeks outcomes that, though not ideal for each side, are better for both than some of the alternatives

    • If it thinks it has enough military force, a country may decide it has no need to bargain. It may attempt to merely take what it wants.


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The Costs of Violence

  • Wars have become increasingly destructive because of:

    • The steady technological improvements of weaponry

    • The growth in capacity, and therefore need, for states to field larger and larger numbers of forces

    • The gradual “democratization” of war (the expansion of the battlefield and hence the increased involvement of noncombatants)


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Use of Force

  • In addition to traditionally defeating an enemy, force can be used to “hurt” an enemy

    • “This movement is not purely military or strategic, but will illustrate the vulnerability of the South. They don’t know what war means, but when the rich planters of the Oconee and Savannah see their fences and corn and hogs and sheep vanish before their eyes they will have something more than a mean opinion of the ‘Yanks.’”

      • Sherman’s plan for his March to the Sea

  • The threat of damage (or more damage to come) can compel an enemy to yield or comply

  • This type of threat is most valuable when held in reserve


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Asymmetric Use of Force

  • When one side desires to use force but is clearly outmatched in terms of conventional forces, it may use asymmetric force

    • Leveraging inferior tactical or operational strength against an enemy’s to achieve disproportionate effect with the aim of undermining the enemy’s will in order to achieve the asymmetric actor’s strategic objectives.


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Functions That Force Can Serve

  • Defense

    • Designed to ward off attack and to minimize damage to oneself if attacked

  • Deterrence

    • Prevent an adversary from doing something that one does not want him to do and that he might otherwise be tempted to do by threatening him with unacceptable punishment if he does it


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Functions That Force Can Serve (cont)

  • Compellence

    • Designed to either stop an adversary from doing something that he has already undertaken or to get him to do something that he has not yet undertaken

  • “Swaggering”

    • Not aimed directly at defense, deterrence, or compellence, but instead designed to enhance the national pride of a people or to satisfy the personal ambitions of a ruler


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Case Study

Berlin Blockade



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Berlin Blockade and Airlift

  • In June 1948, the Soviet Union attempted to control all of Berlin by cutting surface traffic to and from West Berlin.

  • The Truman Administration initiated a daily airlift which brought much needed food and supplies into West Berlin.

  • The airlift lasted until the end of September 1949 -- although on May 12, 1949, the Soviet government had yielded and lifted the blockade.


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Berlin Airlift

The maximum effort of the airlift was the “Easter Parade” on April 16, 1949 when 1,398 sorties (one landing in Berlin every minute) delivered 12,940 short tons.


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Berlin Blockade

  • Discuss the Berlin Blockade as an example of “policy continued by other means.”

  • Discuss the Berlin Blockade as an example of force’s ability to cause “hurt.”

  • Discuss the Berlin Blockade as a competition among competing wills.


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Case Study

Libya: Operation El Dorado Canyon


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Libya: Background

  • Muammar Qadhafi seized power in Libya in 1969 and quickly came into conflict with the US over allegations of sponsoring terrorism and claiming the Gulf of Sidra belonged to Libya

  • Tensions reached a peak in 1981 when the US shot down two Libyan planes while the US Sixth Fleet conducted exercises in the gulf


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Libya: La Belle Disco

  • Confrontations and skirmishes continued in the Mediterranean

  • On April 5, 1986, a bomb exploded in the La Belle discotheque in Berlin, an establishment frequented by US soldiers

  • Two American soldiers and a Turkish civilian were killed and another 229 people were wounded, including 79 Americans

  • The attack was quickly traced to Libya


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Libya: Operation El Dorado Canyon

  • On April 15-16, the US launched Operation El Dorado Canyon which involved more than 100 US aircraft attacking Libyan ground targets in five areas (four of the targets were connected to Libya’s terrorist operations)

  • France refused to grant the US overflight permission which necessitated a much longer flight route refueling of the aircraft in a much longer flight around the Iberian peninsula

  • Nonetheless the US dropped over 60 tons of munitions in a 12 minute strike

    • The Libyans failed to get a single aircraft airborne to challenge the attack

    • One US plane was shot down


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Libya: Operation El Dorado Canyon

  • President Reagan said, “We believe that this pre-emptive action against his terrorist installations will not only diminish Colonel Qaddafi's capacity to export terror, it will provide him with incentives and reasons to alter his criminal behavior.”

  • After the operation, the US pointed to a decrease in Libyan sponsored terrorism (until the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland which killed 259 people, most of whom were Americans)


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Libya: Operation El Dorado Canyon

  • Discuss the La Belle bombing as an asymmetric use of force.

  • Discuss Operation El Dorado Canyon as being pursuant to the “compellent” function of force.

  • Discuss the US choice of an air strike as opposed to other alternative methods such as a ground attack.


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Case Study

Iran-Iraq War



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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Background

  • Underlying causes of the war included Sunni vs Shi’ite religious tensions and Persian vs Arab ethnic tensions

  • The immediate cause was that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was concerned about Iranian efforts to undermine his regime

    • Saddam hoped to curtail the spread of Islamic fundamentalism to which Iraq’s Shi’ite population seemed increasingly vulnerable

    • He also wanted to increase his influence in the Persian Gulf by seizing key geographic areas


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Background

  • Saddam had spent vast sums on improving his military and he also knew the Iranian military was weakened by the upheaval of the 1979 Iranian Revolution

    • Saddam expected a short war

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Iraqi Attack

  • On Sept 22, 1980 Iraq launched a surprise attack against ten Iranian airfields

  • Then Iraq launched ground attacks on four separate axes

    • Most of Iran’s advanced planes were in protective hangars so the surprise aerial attack had little effect

    • The ground attack also produced little and after about a week Saddam called for a cease-fire


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Iranian Recovery

  • Saddam renewed his offensive with several subsequent attacks but by March 1981 they had all exhausted themselves

  • Instead of the quick victory Saddam had hoped for, all he had done was give the Iranian revolutionary regime a rallying cry to mobilize its people

    • Now Iraq faced a total war against an enemy with far greater population and resources


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Iran-Iraq War: (1980-1988):International Response

  • In spite of Saddam’s record of human rights abuses, the international community seemed more afraid of the spread of Ayatollah Khomeini’s influence in the Middle East

  • Consequently there was little support for Iran even though Iraq had initiated the aggression

    • Logistical shortages would hinder Iran throughout the war

Iran seized 66 American hostages in the revolution that brought Khomeini to power


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Iranian Attacks

  • From Sept 1981 through May 1982, Iran seized the initiative through poorly coordinated attacks that relied on superior numbers to make up for inferior commanders, staffs, and equipment

  • In some cases the Iranians used human wave attacks spearheaded by religiously motivated children and old men who would race forward and use their bodies to detonate concealed mines

  • Then waves of poorly trained militia threw themselves on the barbed wire to try to make a breach

  • Finally better trained and equipped soldiers would attack over the mangled bodies of the initial waves


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Iranian Successes

  • As time passed the Iranians developed better tactics but still suffered huge losses

  • Nonetheless the Iranians succeeded in pushing the Iraqis back and in June 1982 Saddam ordered the evacuation of most of the territory seized from Iran


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Chemical Weapons

  • Iran then shifted its emphasis from defense to offense

  • In July the Iranians attacked Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, and in October they attacked toward Baghdad

  • The Iraqis repelled the attacks, using limited amounts of mustard gas and possibly nerve gas in the process

Iranian soldier with a protective mask


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Tanker War

  • In 1984 the war escalated to a new level when Saddam began using his superior air power to halt the shipment of Iranian oil through the Persian Gulf

  • The Iraqis shipped most of their oil by pipeline so the Iranians were not able to retaliate against Iraqi shipping

  • Instead Iran attacked the ships of Iraq’s allies, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

    • This became known as the “Tanker War”


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):War of the Cities

  • From March to June 1985 the “War of the Cities” occurred with both sides launching missile attacks at major population centers

  • As the Iranians increasingly dominated the ground war, Iraq stepped up its air attacks

Both sides fired SCUD missiles at each other’s cities


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):US Involvement

  • In 1987 the US began playing an increasingly active role having concluded that an Iranian victory would be contrary to US interests in the region

  • Kuwait transferred ownership of half of its tankers to a US shipping company and US warships provided security for them in the Persian Gulf

  • There were several direct interactions between the US and Iran including the Iranian cruise missile attack against the USS Stark which killed 37 Americans

The USS Stark after the attack


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Iraqi Advantage

  • Iran began increasingly wary of even greater US involvement

  • The strategic situation was beginning to favor Iraq, and Iraq responded with renewed offensives

    • Iraq scored a huge victory in the Haur-al-Hawizeh marshes but then withdrew in an apparent attempt to signal to Iran a willingness to end the war

Donald Rumsfeld, President Reagan’s special envoy to the Middle East, meeting with Saddam in 1983


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Iranian Difficulties

  • The USS Vincennes mistakenly identified an Iranian civilian airplane with 290 people on board as a war plane and shot it down

  • The incident hurt Iranian morale

  • Iran was also suffering from serious supply shortages and increasingly successful Iraqi attacks

  • Iran could respond only with human wave attacks, but unlike in 1980, volunteers were less abundant

Iranian stamp commemorating the USS Vincennes incident


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Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Peace

  • Finally Iran accepted a truce and the war ended on Aug 20, 1988

  • In the end, neither side gained anything of significance and instead plundered their treasuries and wasted thousands of lives

    • The war left Iraq with over $90 billion in debts

    • This later contributed to Saddam’s decision to invade Kuwait in 1990


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Iran-Iraq War

  • What factor influenced Saddam’s decision to attack Iran when he did (rather than taking a diplomatic approach)?

  • Discuss the Iran-Iraq war in terms of the “democratization” of war that has made modern warfare more costly.

    • At the same time discuss Saddam’s change in strategy from defeating the Iranians on the battlefield to “hurting” them.

  • Describe the US decision to reflag Kuwaiti tankers as one of the deterrent functions of the use of force.

  • Explain why Iran and Iraq decided to stop fighting even though no long term issues had been resolved for either side.


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Practical Exercise: China and Taiwan

  • In April 2001, President Bush vowed to do “"whatever it takes” to defend Taiwan from any Chinese attack

  • Hypothetical situation:

    • US intelligence discovers China has increased its ballistic missiles targeted on Taiwan and Chinese officials make numerous threats to squash what they perceive as a dangerous independence movement in Taiwan


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Practical Exercise: China and Taiwan

  • Hypothetical situation continued:

    • The US responds by increased military sales to Taiwan, including air defense systems, and making diplomatic statements pledging its resolve to defend Taiwan against an attack from China


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China’s Military Options for Taiwan

  • Launch an invasion of Taiwan or an offshore island, using amphibious or other sea or air transported forces.

  • Impose a blockade on Taiwan’s commerce as a means of coercing political concessions.

  • Coerce Taiwan by means of air or missile strikes on Taiwan’s population, military assets, or economic infrastructure.


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Chinese Strategic Considerations

  • Have a plan to avoid, discourage, forestall, or react to a possible US intervention on Taiwan’s side.

  • Attempt to contain and limit the conflict, but fight with sufficient force and tactics to achieve a military solution before outside powers could intervene militarily, and before vital trade and foreign investment are disrupted


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Possible Chinese Indications of Intent to Invade Taiwan

  • Assembling an armada of amphibious landing craft

  • Sabotage or attacks on Taiwan’s early warning radar or intelligence collection facilities

  • A major logistics buildup opposite Taiwan

  • Forward deployment of troops and equipment

  • Major improvements in sealift capability


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China

Air Force of 470,000 airmen and 4,000 combat aircraft (perhaps 2/3 however are obsolete)

Army of 1.9 million soldiers, 14,000 tanks, and 453 helicopters

Navy of 250,000 sailors, 63 submarines, 18 destroyers, and 35 frigates

Taiwan

Air Force of 45,000 airmen, and 420 combat aircraft

Army of 240,000 soldiers and 900 tanks

Navy of 62,000 sailors and marines, 4 submarines

Naval aviation wing equipped with 32 combat aircraft and 20 armed helicopters.

Force Comparison


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Taiwanese Strategic Considerations

  • Do not provoke a Chinese attack

  • Avoid vulnerability to a sudden assault from China that occurs so quickly that Taiwan is forced to capitulate before the US is able to respond in a meaningful, timely manner.


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US Strategic Considerations

  • Ideally, avoid any use or threat of force to resolve differences in the Taiwan Strait.

  • Persuade China against or deter China from attacking or threatening attack

  • If those efforts fail, facilitate Taiwan’s ability to defend itself without outside assistance or, as a fallback, defend itself long enough to permit outside assistance

  • If China attacks and the US decides to intervene, the combination of Taiwan and US forces must be able to defeat the Chinese attack


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Possible US Deterrent Actions

  • Diplomatic activity in the UN

  • US Navy show of force

  • Increased military sales to Taiwan

  • Forward deployment of US troops to a staging area closer to Taiwan

  • Joint exercise with Taiwanese troops


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Practical Exercise

  • Role players

    • China

    • Taiwan

    • US

  • “Action, reaction, counteraction”


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Next

  • Imperialism, Empire, Hegemony, and their Pitfalls


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