28 October 2006

What is war?

War is an act of force intended to compell the enemy to do our will. War is the utimate argument of states, and the means to settle international disputes when other means are inadequate or exhausted. War is as normal a state of international affairs as is peace, and based on the frequency of states of war historically is actually more normative than peace. The normalcy and necessity of war are rooted in human nature and are universal across all societial organizations and among all cultures.

What is the American view of war?

War is an abberation caused when a small cabal of evil men takes charge of a foreign nation and only as a "last resort". War is always directed against this handful of leaders and those evil men who support them. War is a moral crusade of good against evil, and when a war is concluded, it is to be concluded by the imposition of a permenant peace based on the installation of leaders who are "democratic" and "peaceful".

Implications:

Because Americans believe that war is an abberant state of affairs, Americans refuse to believe in the reality and inevitablity of war. Americans will avoid preparing for war, thinking of war, or planning for war. Due to the inability of Americans to accept the consequences of their behaviors, when the war comes the inevitable shortcomings will be blamed on the politicians in office at the start of the war, regardless of circumstances.

Because Americans believe that all people are inherent peaceful unless misled by evil leaders, they do not recognize that conflicts of interest between societies exist which cannot be resolved by negotiation.

Americans confuse the terms "democratic" or "peaceful" with "good". Conversely, "belligerant" or "undemocratic" is always identified with "evil". The confusion this creates is obvious.

Because Americans believe that war is an abberation caused by evil and met with a great crusade like that of the Allied Powers against Germany, they do not recognize nor understand other forms of warfare.

Corrollary to the last statement: Because Americans do not understand guerilla, asymetric, or terrorist method of warfare, they mythologize them in a variety of ways. Hence the various arguments that terrorism is a purely law enforcement matter, or that asymetric warfare is inherently unanswerable.

Because Americans concieve of warfare as a crusade directed against a cabal of "madmen" in charge of a territory, they are often confused when defeating an army, occupying a territory, and arresting the popularly identified "madmen" does not end a conflict. Conversely, they are confused when a campaign does not end in the arrest and trial of the designated "madmen" because they hide in a cave in Pakistan.

Because warfare is identified as a clash of moral opposites, stupidities associated with the phrase "if they are not for us, they are against us" and its opposite abound. Pakistan is an ally of convenience which permitted the United States to use its territory under threat. Saudi Arabia is a morass of conflicting interests of different elements of the incredibly corrupt and undemocratic Royal family, a significant portion of which is actually part of "the enemy" and other parts of which merely pander to the enemy.

Further thoughts along these lines to follow.

4 Comments:

Anonymous cMAD said...

Because Americans believe that war is an abberant state of affairs, Americans refuse to believe in the reality and inevitablity of war. Americans will avoid preparing for war, thinking of war, or planning for war.

A lot of businesses in San Diego contradict your implications. War is a very good business opportunity for a lot of people around here.

Due to the inability of Americans to accept the consequences of their behaviors, when the war comes the inevitable shortcomings will be blamed on the politicians in office at the start of the war, regardless of circumstances.

I think the inability is more of an inability to connect behavior with consequences thereof.

It's a very hard thing to learn, and things must get really bad before you're ready to learn.

One peculiarly human faculty is the ability to make reality.
So, if you believe that war is a normal state of affairs, it will remain so.

"Old" Europeans (i.e. Europeans who live with the consequences of several millennia of war, not just three centuries as in the USA) have recently (some 70 years ago) agreed to create a new reality in which war is an aberration.
It's really hard (it takes getting along with the French), but it's worth while trying.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seventy years ago would have been 1936...how well did that "no war no more" work for them? Okay, you meant 60 years, but that doesn't work either, unless you completely ignore the Cold War. There wasn't a war in Europe because NATO made damn well sure that the Soviets knew that crossing that line would be expensive. So it's been 20 years of peace in Europe. Peace plus the occasional civil disturbance. Reality isn't usually as malleable as people wish.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Old Europeans aren't inherently peaceful, they simply discovered that if America fights for them, they could get richer by ignoring their natural necessity to be armed for self defence.

Having woken up in the 21st century faced with an America that is the only nation capable of projecting power globally, they have been frantically scurrying to try to delegitemize that power.

It isn't going to work because of human nature. And those unarmed, overeducated, effeminate Europeans who aren't even reproducing enough to maintain current population levels are going to be an amusing footnote in history.

My descendants will likely be fascinated to study the ruins of a culture which thought they could abolish war because it bothered them.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

I've linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2006/10/re-what-is-war.html

12:44 AM  

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