Military retooling: Winning Wars and the Peace

I posted a link to [url= guy’s TED talk[/url] awhile ago. That’s a 20 min. distillation of what can be found here: Thomas Barnett: C-SPAN. Great presentation on winning wars and the peace afterwards.

A few highlights.

Who’s doing the best job of SysAdmin (rebuilding, post-conflict security, what he sees as the job of the State Dept. and Marines)? Hizbollah. Israel won a pointless war; now the interesting part: who wins the peace by better rebuilding the country: the gov’t, or Hizbollah. Anyone betting on the gov’t?

Three guys sitting on a park bench. I walk up, shoot one guy, double-tap the second, the third guy reaches for a weapon to deter me. Is he irrational, or have I made that decision for him? That’s how Iran looks at it. Taleban: boom. Iraq: boom-boom. Why wouldn’t Iran go for the bomb.

18% of Gulf oil goes to the US. In 20 years, it’ll be 15%; 80% will go to Asia. Want to wipe the smiles off their faces in Beijing? Talk about that.


Another lonely wonkish post. Sounds very much like what Barnett proposes in the links posted above.

[quote=“Real Clear Politics: David Ignatius”]Defense Secretary Bob Gates has been talking recently about how to rebuild America’s national-security architecture so that it fits the 21st century. The next president should think about assigning Gates to fix what he rightly says is broken.
Amazingly for a defense secretary, Gates has been arguing against the “creeping militarization” of foreign policy. In a speech last month, he urged more funding for the State Department and other civilian agencies, saying they have been “chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long.”
Why not appoint Gates to head a special commission to revise the basic framework of the National Security Act of 1947? He knows all the pieces of this puzzle – having run the CIA and worked at the National Security Council earlier in his career. A hypothetical Gates commission would have two basic missions:

– Fix the NSC structure so that it can deal better with today’s “soft power” challenges, rather than the old Cold War problems. Specifically, a Gates commission should think how to focus money and expertise on the nation-building problems that now fall between the cracks of the interagency system.

“Over the long term, we cannot kill or capture our way to victory,” Gates warned last month. “What the Pentagon calls ‘kinetic’ operations should be subordinate to measures to promote participation in government, economic programs to spur development, and efforts to address the grievances that often lie at the heart of insurgencies.”

Gates is right about the imbalance between civilian and military power. A new report by Refugees International documents how the current, over-militarized approach is misfiring in Africa. But power has shifted to the Pentagon for a reason: It has the resources. As the report notes, there are more people serving in military bands than in the entire State Department. Changing that balance will require a different kind of NSC architecture.[/quote]