Thursday, August 02, 2018

Admiral Foggo, this is what I was talking about

Back in 2010 I had a brief conversation with Admiral Foggo in San Diego. Knowing my window was short, I took my one shot at an idea for him to consider.

We have enough planners and strategists at the Joint Staff and high level service specific staffs. We send a few people out to get PhDs in economics and history and then - no offense folks - put them out to pasture to teach at service academies. This is stupid.

What we need are people with practical experience at the tactical level to go out and get focused PhDs in economics and history and then roll them in to our planning staffs.

The world is a complicated place. It is a world that more than any other time in the last century, is run by money and commerce. We need people who know how to look at economic and demographic trends. We need people who know how to take what direction the economic and demographic trends are taking us, and give it historical context.

Human beings have not changed all that much through history. In a large part, we still respond in predictable ways to stresses and opportunity. Historians see that.

When I read Wednesday night the latest plans for Africa, all I could think of is no one is listening to the historians and economists. More likely, neither even had a seat at the table. As such, we do myopic things such as this;
Hundreds of American troops in Africa would be reassigned and the number of Special Operations missions on the continent would be wound down under plans submitted by a top military commander, a response to the Trump administration’s strategy to increasingly focus on threats from China and Russia.
General Waldhauser said Africa Command was the first to be asked to submit a drawdown plan, as The Times initially reported in June. But he said he expected other American combatant commands around the world to do the same under the defense strategy to better position the United States military against threats from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.
But, Mr. Ham said, “my concern in Africa is that with an already very modest presence and level of engagement, reducing that will lessen the likelihood for good outcomes across the continent.”

Africa receives a small portion of Pentagon investment compared with Germany, South Korea and Japan, for instance.
I'll be blunt; unless someone goes insane or through our own stupidity blunder in to it, we are not going to war with North Korea.

Anti-democratic or not, we have more security interests with Russia than we have conflict. She's insecure and flinty, but has no ability to take war against NATO. All she wants is money and be treated in a way that soothes her bruised pride. Only pig-headedness on both sides is stopping us from realizing this reality. Only mass hysteria on a scale not seen since 1914 could lead to a war with Russia.

China may bluff her way in to a WESTPAC war once she thinks she can win one, but of the three - that is where the greatest likelihood of war comes from. That war, if it came, would be for the USA side at least, an air and naval war. It will not be a land war on the Asian landmass, as only a fool would try such a thing.

What small number of forces we have in Africa right now are worth every penny we spend. The challenge to global stability mid-century will come from Africa. The economic and demographic leading indicators are all blinking red.


Well, at least there are some stirrings in NATO at last about the concern. Hard to believe this is JFC Naples first conference on the challenge, but better late than never.

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