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Archive for July of 2007
July 15, 2007
July 14, 2007
ur friend Global Paradigms has two items that offer intruiging insights into the geopolitical challenges facing both the United States and Israel. In “The Globalist,”
The choice that Washington will face in the aftermath of Iraq is between continuing to strive for strategic dominance in a way that has ignited more opposition at home and resistance abroad — or working together with other powers to contain threats to the international system.
In that case, the United States will still be first among equals (or primus inter pares) — which is the next best thing to being Number One.
e are skeptical that the U.S., particularly its so-called policy-making elites, is prepared psychologically or even structurally to recognize the constraints already apparent before our eyes now. It would be a pleasant surprise. Our guess is that it will take a “shot across the bow” or an even more eggregious geopolitical setback to make the point. Perhaps Dick Lugar can take the Senate floor and quote David Brooks again. The over all analysis is excellent, as usual in the piece.
Not content to stand there, GP also supports and expands upon the position of those who describe Israel's current strategic woes as the unfortunate legacy of its alleged greatest strategic success, the 1967 War
. Definitely worth a a read.
Tags: Global Paradigms
, Leon Hadar
, 1967 War
July 12, 2007
Only twice before over the last century has 5 percent of the national income gone to families in the upper one-one-hundredth of a percent of the income distribution — currently, the almost 15,000 families with incomes of $9.5 million or more a year, according to an analysis of tax returns by the economists Emmanuel Saez at the University of California, Berkeley and Thomas Piketty at the Paris School of Economics.
Such concentration at the very top occurred in 1915 and 1916, as the Gilded Age was ending, and again briefly in the late 1920s, before the stock market crash. Now it is back, and Mr. Weill is prominent among the new titans. His net worth exceeds $1 billion, not counting the $500 million he says he has already given away, in the open-handed style of Andrew Carnegie and the other great philanthropists of the earlier age.
he scale of damage done to the foundational fabrics of our society and its possibilities as a stable, actually functioning liberal democracy is mindboggling. Particularly when combined with the destruction of a broad-based middle class in the last 7 years (obscured by the false economy of inflated housing 'equity'). The purposeful rollback of the 20th century (and as mentioned here often, 1789) is fuelled by a longstanding philosophy from the Continent and many American strands of the Movement. Most of them, except the Neocons, are ignorant of their historical roots and even larger political purpose — seeking only their immediate agendas.
And still we wonder who can rescue the Nation from this monsterous, mutational mockery of itself? And then summon the political will, fashion a concrete program, the cadre and infrastructure needed to retrieve this Nation from this grotesque state? We look, and we hope. And we find . . .
Tags: Guilded Age
, Radical Conservatives
July 10, 2007
hen this regime took over, most of the senior personnel across the board came from either smokestack industrials such a Alcoa and paper (Paul O'Neill), Haliburton, Searle or from academia/policy wilderness. They missed having to confront the digital era and its impact on governments and States; recall “real men do nation states”, etc.
The first Clinton Administration was not too different. It had to learn the hard way. When Ira Magaziner and others first started looking at the Internet, etc. their response, too, was largely to approach from a State/FCC/regulatory stance. Circumstances forced learning. True, Sandy Berger, the trade lawyer turned national security mandarin, Dick Clarke, Cressey and others by 1999-2000 totally got the networked nature of the world (of which terrorist cells are only one phenomenon). We know this because we had dealings with the Clinton White House. But that knowledge was hard won. And not there inherently — although Clarke took to it with gusto — his energetic flacking of the digital 'Pearl Harbor' fears in the late 1990s bordered on the comical. It will be, however, a valid concern soon, though.
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July 09, 2007
Calling Gerson, your whirlwind is on the way
The Stiftung ran into this evening alone the Bete Noire
of the Neocon imagination the past decade and a half. A true pleasure.
As we are fond of saying, van Creveld had it right from the beginning
. Note that van Creveld even then, years ago, predicted a fighting American withdrawal down essentially shooting gallery narrow logistical arteries.
It needn't be a calamity, although we suspect it may well be such or close to it. Not only for American forces but for the region and the refugee crisis. Some from deliberate domestic bait-and-switch, some from incompetence, inertia and not a little from instinctive American reliance on kinetic solutions. Which leaves the Stiftung a bit despondent tonight.
The rubble of the 'Vulcans' will clutter the Movement/Republican symbiotic relationship for some time, but no one 'serious' as they are fond of saying, would entrust them again with with a PTA meeting, let alone national security affairs. (It would be amusing to see how they would insist that First Graders are required to understand Ze'ev Zabotinsky's 'steel bayonet' theories). The McCain Campaign's death spiral is all the more encouraging in that regard. (And we say that after where we were and who we were with the night of the South Carolina primary).
Yet even the verbose Biden et al. have yet to come to turns to the pragmatic consequences of withdrawal — whether in “stages” or whatever AgitProp term is used, or not. Half-assed going in is no excuse for half-assed now. That should have been another Dean Wormer quote.
, Condi Rice
July 05, 2007
hat gerund is optimistic, naturally. If, perchance, you are a long time reader, you know our cant on the fractured, micro-channelled and above all, incoherent nature of the contemporary American mind. This diagnosis applies most accurately (and ironically) to the most regimented and hierarchical of our institutions, such as the DoD/industrial duality.
William Lind offers us still more incisive analysis on the fundamental failure of the American military to meet our current needs
. Lind, correctly in our view, notes the excellent Israeli Winograd Commission's review of why Israel lost in Lebanon in 2006 applies (unsurprisingly) to the U.S. as well. The Commission excoriates the Israeli's fixation on technology as an end unto itself, while failing to understand that warfare has changed to what Lind et al. coined as “4th Generation”. Both the U.S. and Israel remain addicted to a flawed view that warfare remains putting fire on targets, hence the continued fixation on “precision fire”.
Lind quotes the Commission's pithy insight:
[The-IDF Chief of the General Staff] Halutz encouraged the civilian leaders to believe that Israel could launch a precision air and artillery offensive without getting dragged into a broad ground offensive. ... the failure of Halutz and the General Staff to appraise the enemy's abilities: correctly at the outbreak of the war stemmed not from incorrect intelligence or analysis, but from a willed denial of the limitations of the IDF's precision weapons.
o do we see OSD's dreams also buried in the sands of Anbar.
s we noted recently, OSD and the military deliberately hide the true cost of “Operation Excellent Adventure” by obscure the staggering Force Replenishment bill for hardware destroyed or worn out through accelerated lifecyle useage. CNN ran a surprisingly good piece this weekend on this topic. The military take enormous efforts to hide destroyed and damaged Bradleys, Humvees, even M1s, helicopters, etc.
Replenishment is a separate cost item from next generation procurement price tags (based on stunningly expensive, over designed platforms designed to deliver precision fires). The Navy wants new carriers, a new destroyer and the troubled littoral combat ship. The Air Force is smart enough to make sure that the F-22s are prominently displayed in the pop culture imagination such as Transformers movies, etc. And the Army has the Future Combat System, and so on. Something has to give.
e raise all this because the issue is about to leave ethereal academic discussion and plummet into the Tweetysphere (tm). Naturally, the fact that the U.S. will lose a war because the military itself no longer understands warfare will be obscured and ignored. Lind's initial arguments about 4G warfare, the precision fire ethos, even Rummy's transformation all still remain specialized, arcane debates. How many angels (Powerpoint slides?) on the head of a APFSDS 120mm round?
The Tweetysphere (tm), however, can comprehend spending, budgets, pork and jobs. Very soon, the U.S. for the first time must confront external resource restraints — we can not afford Force Replenishment and procurement of the next generation at the same time. Boys with toys naturally want the new stuff, so the Air Force for example retired the F-117 Stealth platform to make way for the F-22. But what we have been calling the scissors crisis — two tend lines in diamentrically opposite directions — will not go away.
, Winograd Commission
, 4th Generation War
, precision fire
ne's expecations for American political discourse are by necessity low. But after 7 years, it still surprises us a bit that even now, after all that has unfolded, how few realize the true nature, imperative and direction of the Cheney era.
Forget those silly WaPo articles about Cheney that everyone found so “revealing”. Talking to long departed second tier staff about vague generalities regarding peripheral events and minor details constitutes a new hot issue of “Tiger Beat” for the Tweety Class.
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