Views: 9231|Replies: 111

An unwinnable war   [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 8Rank: 8

2018 Most Popular Member 2015 Most Popular Member Medal of honor Medal of honor Medal of honor

Post time 2015-11-19 13:18:02 |Display all floors
Andrew Bacevich
Nov 19, 2015


President Francois Hollande’s response to Friday’s vicious terrorist attacks in France, attributed to the Islamic State, was immediate and uncompromising. “We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,” he vowed.

Whether France itself possesses the will or the capacity to undertake such a war is another matter. So too is the question of whether further war can provide a remedy to the problem at hand: widespread disorder roiling much of the Greater Middle East and periodically spilling into the outside world.

It’s not as if the outside world hasn’t already given pitiless war a try. The Soviet Union spent all of the 1980s attempting to pacify Afghanistan and succeeded only in killing a million or so Afghans while creating an incubator for Islamic radicalism. Beginning in 2003, the United States attempted something similar in Iraq and ended up producing similarly destabilising results. By the time US troops withdrew in 2011, something like 200,000 Iraqis had died, most of the them civilians. Today Iraq teeters on the brink of disintegration.

Perhaps if the Russians had tried harder or the Americans had stayed longer, they might have achieved a more favourable outcome. Yet that qualifies as a theoretical possibility at best. Years of fighting in Afghanistan exhausted the Soviet Union and contributed directly to its subsequent collapse. Years of fighting in Iraq used up whatever ‘Let’s roll!’ combativeness Americans may have entertained following 9/11.

Today, notwithstanding the Obama administration’s continuing appetite for military piddling – airstrikes, commando raids, and advisory missions – few Americans retain any appetite for undertaking further large-scale hostilities in the Islamic world. Fewer still will sign up to follow Hollande in undertaking any new crusade. Their reluctance to do so is understandable and appropriate.

The fact is that United States and its European allies face a perplexing strategic conundrum. Collectively they find themselves locked in a protracted conflict with Islamic radicalism, with Isis but one manifestation of a much larger phenomenon. Prospects for negotiating an end to that conflict anytime soon appear to be nil. Alas, so too do prospects of winning it.

In this conflict, the west generally appears to enjoy the advantage of clear-cut military superiority. By almost any measure, we are stronger than our adversaries. Our arsenals are bigger, our weapons more sophisticated, our generals better educated in the art of war, our fighters better trained at waging it.

Yet most of this has proven to be irrelevant. Time and again the actual employment of that ostensibly superior military might has produced results other than those intended or anticipated. Even where armed intervention has achieved a semblance of tactical success – the ousting of some unsavoury dictator, for example – it has yielded neither reconciliation nor willing submission nor even sullen compliance. Instead, intervention typically serves to aggravate, inciting further resistance. Rather than putting out the fires of radicalism, we end up feeding them.

In proposing to pour yet more fuel on that fire, Hollande demonstrates a crippling absence of imagination, one that has characterised recent western statesmanship more generally when it comes to the Islamic world. There, simply trying harder will not suffice as a basis of policy.

It’s past time for the west, and above all for the United States as the west’s primary military power, to consider trying something different.

Rather than assuming an offensive posture, the west should revert to a defensive one. Instead of attempting to impose its will on the Greater Middle East, it should erect barriers to protect itself from the violence emanating from that quarter. Such barriers will necessarily be imperfect, but they will produce greater security at a more affordable cost than is gained by engaging in futile, open-ended armed conflicts. Rather than vainly attempting to police or control, this revised strategy should seek to contain.

Such an approach posits that, confronted with the responsibility to do so, the peoples of the Greater Middle East will prove better equipped to solve their problems than are policy makers back in Washington, London, or Paris. It rejects as presumptuous any claim that the west can untangle problems of vast historical and religious complexity to which western folly contributed. It rests on this core principle: Do no (further) harm.

Hollande views the tragedy that has befallen Paris as a summons to yet more war. The rest of us would do well to see it as a moment to re-examine the assumptions that have enmeshed the west in a war that it cannot win and should not perpetuate.

This article originally appeared as: ‘A war the west connot win’. Courtesy: Commondreams.org

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

2015 Most Popular Member Medal

Post time 2015-11-19 13:50:02 |Display all floors
This post was edited by robert237 at 2015-11-18 21:51

Do no further harm probably won't be good enough.
Western imperialism has reached its conclusion and now must retreat.
The information age dictates this.
The rewritten and sanitized version of world history the west has always sold is no longer selling.
There can be no peace in the middle east as long as the last gasp of western imperialism stands against the will of
the native inhabitants of the middle east.
Citing holy books is laughable but nonetheless the west keeps up this comic and tiresome routine.
Holy books are one of the few things that have been rewritten more often than western history.
Every ruler through the ages has had a stab at rewriting holy books to serve their purpose.

Israel is standing in the way of peace in the middle east.

Another tired and dreadful arguement from western propagandists is that fighting happened in the middle east before
Israel was forced upon the land of Arab nations.
Fighting has happened everywhere in the world through the ages. So is the excuse to perpetuate genocide by western
imperialists. It's not an arguement at all. Just an excuse to keep killing people for their land.

But any reasonable person can see that before Israel there were not the problems emanating from the middle east that
we have today. It won't get better just by not doing any further harm.
If Israel can be justified then why not kill whoever is in the way and set up nations for every group who has a belief
system that is sanctioned by the oligarchs of the west.
The madness has to stop and the root cause is Israel. Nobody in their right mind could argue that.
Nobody wants to eliminate Jews. They live in just about every nation on earth.
They do not need their own special nation. No religion needs a special nation.



If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

2016 Most Popular Member 2015 Most Popular Member 2014 Most Popular Member

Post time 2015-11-19 14:02:43 |Display all floors
All wars are unwinnable  

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2015-11-19 14:37:19 |Display all floors
Very wrong.


This is a war with guaranteed outcome.


IS will disappear within a short time.



I've made my living, Mr. Thompson, in large part as a gambler. Some days I make twenty bets, some days I make none. There are weeks, sometimes months, in fact, when I don't make any bet at all because ...

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

2018 Most Popular Member 2015 Most Popular Member Medal of honor Medal of honor Medal of honor

Post time 2015-11-19 14:49:49 |Display all floors
Revolutionar Post time: 2015-11-19 14:37
Very wrong.

"Is the IS on self-destruct mode?
Olivier Roy, the well-known French expert on jihadist groups is of the view that the IS is its own worst enemy. Writing in the New York Times, Roy, after giving a full list of IS foes, concludes that some of its regional enemies may not be keen on wiping out the IS for their desire to spite their enemies (who are among the IS’ enemies)!

The new message coming from the west and Russia is: it is no longer a matter of containing the IS, we must defeat it. There is a wide margin between defeating and wiping out. We may, therefore, be looking at a future that sees the IS on the run rather than entrenched but that still does not restore the fractured states of Iraq and Syria."

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2015-11-19 15:06:07 |Display all floors
dostoevskydr Post time: 2015-11-19 14:49
"Is the IS on self-destruct mode?
Olivier Roy, the well-known French expert on jihadist groups is ...

IS is a loony organization with an expired life.



I've made my living, Mr. Thompson, in large part as a gambler. Some days I make twenty bets, some days I make none. There are weeks, sometimes months, in fact, when I don't make any bet at all because ...

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

2018 Most Popular Member 2015 Most Popular Member Medal of honor Medal of honor Medal of honor

Post time 2015-11-19 15:42:17 |Display all floors
Revolutionar Post time: 2015-11-19 15:06
IS is a loony organization with an expired life.

"No amount of rhetoric by Hollande, Cameron, Putin and a ‘lame-duck’ Obama, or the feuding contestants for the 2016 US presidential election, is going to change the ground realities in Iraq or Syria. Neither Baghdad nor Damascus has the resources or the will to re-conquer the largely Sunni dominated areas that are now under IS control. A de-facto partition of the two countries seems like the logical solution somewhat like the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq created under US sponsorship. "

Use magic tools Report

You can't reply post until you log in Log in | register

BACK TO THE TOP
Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email: blog@chinadaily.com.cn
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.