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What is the evolving “new normal” in political-military affairs. Walter S. Clarke Senior Foreign Service Officer, ret. Cornwallis XVII West Point, N.Y 3 April 2012. Two Decades of War without rest. Collapse of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe provided temporary relief.

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what is the evolving new normal in political military affairs

What is the evolving “new normal” in political-military affairs

Walter S. Clarke

Senior Foreign Service Officer, ret.

Cornwallis XVII

West Point, N.Y

3 April 2012

two decades of war without rest
Two Decades of War without rest
  • Collapse of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe provided temporary relief.
  • North Korea and its nuclear threat is a worry.
  • The Arab-Israel continuing crisis is complicated by the US thirst for oil.
  • Latin America turmoil and the US drug habit.
  • Mexico brings the drug war to our doorstep.
  • China presses everywhere (Africa, Latin America, etc.) that US is not fully engaged.
  • Iran presents a pesky problem.
have we worn out our warriors
Have we worn out our warriors?
  • Eleven years, two significant wars and multiple deployments have direct effect.
  • PTSD, suicides, family breakdowns, low morale, the basic dehumanization of war and the collapse of the US economy affects the military.
  • The US public professes great pride in its warriors, but they treat them as a class apart.
  • The high level of political acrimony at home creates additional uncertainty.
  • We cannot continue a deployment rate which threatens the vitality of our military.
can we face the global threats
Can we face the Global Threats?
  • The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a significant decline in its military strength.
  • While the Russian pursuit of democracy is ambiguous, it is rebuilding to again become a global threat.
  • China is well on its way to becoming a world military power.
  • India and Pakistan share mutual distrust and possess nuclear weapons.
  • Strategy requires bipartisan statesmanship.
relations with islamic world
Relations with Islamic World
  • Traumatized by 9-11, Americans learned to fear Islam and its followers.
  • There are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and we ignore them at our peril.
  • There are about 5 or 6 million Muslim citizens of the US, and they deserve full respect and rights as loyal citizens.
  • We must focus on developing new tools to broaden American understanding and appreciation of Islam.
while reining in israel
While reining in Israel…?
  • Since the 1967 war, Israel has succeeded in avoiding any actions that would limit its expansion into Palestinian territories.
  • The US has no effective means to affect the impasse for which it is largely responsible.
  • As a result, the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world believe that the US is anti-Muslim.
  • Can we develop new instruments to convince the Israelis that a legitimate solution to illegal settlements is in their best interest?
the us and nation building
The US and Nation Building
  • The United Nations contains the primary international agencies for protecting weak states and recognizing new ones.
  • The US is the major contributor to the UN, but most Americans are deeply suspicious of it and are not sympathetic to its goals.
  • The US military does not like “nation building” and generally avoids working closely with UN.
  • Curiously, in the interest of avoiding domestic controversy, the military resorts to “mission shrink” as a means to protect itself.
ungoverned territories
Ungoverned Territories?
  • The “global war on terror” (GWOT) caused many to worry about failed and failing states.
  • We naturally assume that needed repairs must begin at the national level.
  • Leadership in most Third World states is always more vibrant at the local level.
  • We can develop policies to assist and protect legitimate local leaders.
  • The military role should be to provide security while civilians provide “nation-building.”
  • Piracy in the Indian Ocean, West Africa and elsewhere threatens world trade and endangers mariners.
  • The lack of legal remedies appears to be a basic issue.
  • In the case of the Indian Ocean, there is general knowledge that world financial centers in the Gulf States are complicit in organizing and sustaining piracy.
  • Why is financial interdiction such a problem?
relations with the humanitarian community
Relations with the Humanitarian Community
  • The US military recently appears more at ease in working with the international humanitarian community.
  • There is an intrinsic dilemma in the relationship because humanitarians do not want to be identified as collaborating with the military.
  • They know that they are almost certain to remain after the military leaves.
  • For their protection, they prefer to stand off.
looking back at dd 3000 05
Looking Back at DD 3000.05
  • The original directive (2005) states that stability operations are a core mission “whose priority is comparable to combat operations.”
  • In the “Instruction” for the directive (2007), the focus is on tasking and the comparability injunction is not mentioned. The emphasis is directed at the civilian side of stability ops.
  • We had hoped in 2005 that the directive indicated that the troops would be taught something about the histories and cultures.
drones in our future
Drones in our Future!
  • The US military has published detailed plans to considerably increase its use of drones over the next 25 years.
  • Many other countries have ambitious plans to integrate military drone hard and software.
  • In the recent FAA budget, the agency is instructed to prepare the US airspace for up to 35,000 civilian drones by 2015.
  • Drones must become more accurate before becoming a primary weapon.
training matters
Training Matters
  • US military seem to be training all the time when not deployed.
  • As a former planner, writer and role player in training operations, I was frequently surprised at the “check list” attitude of planners
  • I was also surprised that everyone assumed that events happened just once without sequel.
  • I hoped to push the frustrations of officers and command short of armed confrontation.
some humble proposals i
Some humble proposals, I
  • “Shock and awe” is a tactic that just angers the enemy and terrorizes the civilian populations that we are trying to influence.
  • Do not trust the stories of exiles; they always have a political purpose for whatever they are selling. Ahmed Chilabi of Iraqi ill-fame was a perfect example.
  • The resilience of the average soldier, sailor, Marine cannot be taken for granted. Inform them of their missions in strategic terms that compliment their intelligence.
some more humble observations
Some More humble observations
  • Muslims have many customs that Americans do not understand. Do something about it.
  • We will defend Israel against aggression. It must make concessions for peace.
  • America has always been about nation-building. Make our strategies consistent.
  • Be careful about using terms like “lawless” or “ungoverned.” It may mean that you simply do not understand the problem.
i am not quite done assaulting your sensitivities
I am not quite done assaulting your sensitivities.
  • Pirates are breaking the law. Somalis will exploit every advantage, but they are not pre-ordained to accept poverty and misery.
  • Stability ops will not work if you do not understand the cultural environment in which you are working. This will never be easy.
  • Respect the sensitivities of UN and NGO workers. They are valuable collaborators.
  • Drones must become more accurate.
  • Try to make your political and military goals realistic to the terrain in which you operate.