ZenPundit
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
4GW WAR OF WORDS CONTINUES

"The 4GW Scrum Gets Really Ugly" at Opposed System Design

"The Myth of Grand Strategy" by Fabius Maximus at DNI

"Repeat after Me: grand strategy is a LONG TERM pursuit" by Dr. Barnett

"All-Mercenary service?" - thread at the Small Wars Council.


Advocates of the 4GW school of thought, for all their emphasis on the superiority of a defensive posture over an offensive one, appear to be on the warpath lately.

The latest post by Fabius Maximus, while an intriguing writer to be sure, exemplifies a weakness of intellectual culture prevalent in 4GW , namely a fascination with the primarily destructive aspects of Boyd's strategic theory and a general unwillingness ( Chet Richards excepted) to deeply contemplate the constructive aspects that are implied by Boyd's " theme for vitality and growth". Their " dialectic engine" seems to be missing a few cylinders these days. It was not always so:

"On one hand, as shown on the previous chart, the National Goal and Grand Strategy tend to be constructive in nature. On the other hand, the Strategic Aim, Strategy, Grand Tactics, and Tactics are destructive in nature and operate over a shorter time frame. In this sense, the upper two and the latter four notions. as expressed, appear to be in disharmony with one another. Yet, application of these latter four strategic and tactical notions permit real leadership to avoid high attrition, avoid widespread destruction, and gain a quick victory"

Good grand strategies are rare, admittedly, but most of those were accomplished by design rather than by default. Bismarck planned, Hitler improvised. The Founding Fathers built, the Jacobins destroyed. Moral cohesion requires more than avoidance of conflict or effective execution of military power - it demands a comprehensible and intellectually compelling vision that can pass from one generation to the next.

It requires the constructive thinking embodied by grand strategy- as Dr. Barnett is doing - and not merely anticipating the destruction of systems.
 
Comments:
Your comment at SWJ was, I thought, brilliant. I will incorporate it into P3, a Grand Strategy for America.

But I do not see the relation of your comment here to my article. Please explain!

Part I, the Myth of GS, was a brief, hopefully provocative intro. Discussing why an "ambitious" GS is unlikely to work for a developed State.

The constructive/destructive distinction, while interesting, does not seem relevant to my reasoning.
 
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My mistake. Your comment was on Barnett's Blog.
 
Hi fabius

my apologies for the delay - the weekend was very full and I didn't catch your comment here until tonight.

Thank you very much. One benefit of having been forced to troll through FRUS, captured German archives, some translated Soviet material in grad school and beyond is getting an idea how high policy makers weigh probabilities and options amongst themselves based on limited information. The human dynamic is very real and surprising sometimes and at others the realpolitik shines through.

The *constructive* part of Boyd, which unfortunately he never developed much goes toward motivating people to stand, fight and die for things other than hearth and home or one's comrades. It builds moral resiliency for the state, IMHO.

Look forward to your parts II & III Fabius - I will link to them here. Very intersting - I like provocative writing.
 
Very strange - my comment is invisible unless I go to post another
 
Who fights is a big issue for America, and might grow more problematic. From my article "Thoughts on {Lind's} FMFM 1-A":

The primary issue not considered in FMFM 1-A, perhaps beyond the scope of a doctrinal manual, is getting US citizens to fight for America.

Who fights for America might soon become a critical issue. How many field grade officers and experienced NCOs will re-enlist – especially among the Reserves? How far will the US Army need to lower entrance standards to maintain its current force structure?

After Vietnam many experts discussed the need for Legions, professional warriors willing to fight anywhere as needed. The volunteer military only pretended to create such a force. Now the Iraq War rips that facade away. Few people fight, risking death, for a college education. Many or most accept that offer only if they think the gamble will pay off with no combat. We are now offering up to $90,000 for people to enlist in in the combat arms.

http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/thoughts_on_fmfm_1-a.htm
 
Here is the new one:
The Fate of Israel

Part two in a series of articles about grand strategy in a 4GW Era.
It demonstrates the difficultly of distinguishing strong from weak in 4GW, and that choosing the wrong Grand Strategy can be terminal for a state.

http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/fabius_fate_of_israel.htm

The 3rd article will explain why we need a defensive ("humble", or minimalist) Grand Strategy. America is in many ways weak, not strong -- esp. financially.

The 4th will discuss why we cannot successfully execute a Grand Strategy, focusing on weaknesses in the DoD and State Department.

Comments welcomed!
 
I did a search for an answer to a bingo question on netscape and found this blog, and this rediculous Mecca bingo song/video...Brace yourselves!.
Bingo Video. First I discovered Berryz and C-ute and Mesume, now this super huge chic group...What next!
 
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