Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Point of the Blunt Spear

Over the weekend, Secretary Gates told a group of West Point cadets that they will be entering a very different military from that of their predecessors. He pointed out that financial and human resources are necessarily dwindling and that any president who thinks a ground war in Asia is a good idea needs "his head examined".

I am a big fan of Secretary Gates. And considering that Rumsfeld is out promoting his book claiming that Iraq was NOT a mistake, Gates offers a reasoned view that is very much grounded in reality. He gets it!

George Freidman writing for STRATFOR has put together a very good article on why Gates is correct in his analysis. The short version is that the US military faces three problems in Asia. 1) long supply lines that require huge human resources for logistics and 2) an inability to field a large enough fighting force (i.e so many human resources are taken up by logistics, little is left over for the actual fighting force) 3) the populations in Asia are disproportionately large compared to the size of US forces.

The one thing this article doesn't mention, but is becoming more an more discussed is the role of mercenary insurgents. It is more and more evident that many nations keep a stock of mercenaries available to fight anything from wars to suppressing uprising. That will be the next fad in military analysis if it hasn't already started.

To respect all copyright laws: Never Fight a Land War in Asia is republished with permission of STRATFOR.


Raised By Republicans said...

You left out a key component of the logic. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there is no single power in Asia that threatens to dominate the entire continent (even China is balanced by Japan, India, Russia and Thailand/Vietnam/Indonesia/etc). Because of this lack of a continental hegemonic threat, there is no threat in Asia that is worth trying to struggle against all the disadvantages US West mentioned.

Of course the implicit assumption in this logic is that 9/11 did not represent a truly strategic threat to the USA. If one follows this logic, one should be willing to accept periodic terrorist attacks - even quite sever ones - as just bad stuff that happens, like natural disasters. That's even assuming that terrorist threats can be diminished at all through the fighting of large scale wars (which itself is debatable).

I must say I'm extremely sympathetic to this logic.

USWest said...

So am I. Actually, Friedman does say this. He writes:" While the Soviet Union was the primary focus of the United States during the Cold War, no power threatens to dominate Eurasia now, and therefore no threat justifies the singular focus of the United States."

Raised By Republicans said...

Yeah, I read that article you linked and was paraphrasing Friedman. I should have made that clear.