Peace through strength

The Gipper's core philosophy continues to make sense:


As much as I respect and admire Bill Whittle, it is worth pointing out one big problem with his analysis.

The reality is that the cancellation of the F-22 is probably one of the very very very few genuinely sound military decisions that President Jackass and his administration has ever made.

The reason for this is simple. The F-22 was designed, originally, in the 1980s, to fight classical 2nd Generation wars between superpowers. It represented then, and still represents today, a qualitative shift in air superiority of the first magnitude. It is a serious contender for the title of most advanced aircraft ever. (The Euroweenies might take umbrage at this, what with their Eurofighter, but then, who gives a toss what the Euzis think.)

But modern warfare has changed, completely and radically. War is no longer a matter of state versus state, in massive pitched battles involving thousands or even millions of men in uniforms and massive engagements across multiple fronts. War has become more local in nature, fought by stateless actors who fight for many different causes, and although warfare has lessened in intensity, it has if anything increased in lethality.

The enemies that the United States faces today are not Russia and China. Indeed, if the boneheads on Capitol Hill and in the White House had even the first clue about the changing rules of geopolitical reality these days, they would understand that William S. Lind and others like him are right, and the Pentaloons and the CIA are wrong. The state is losing its legitimacy, on an almost daily basis. The broad framework of war upon which not only the West but the entire world has operated since roughly 1648, where wars are fought by states, between states, for relatively easily understood reasons, is daily losing value and credibility.

In its place, we see the rise of 4th Generation warfare- a kind of war that the high-tech, magnificently designed, extraordinarily fast F-22 Raptor was never built to fight.

4GW is not about air superiority or supremacy. It is not about "shock and awe". It is not about killing the enemy in massive numbers. Instead, 4GW is about low-intensity, grinding, protracted conflict, in which the counterintuitive action is often the right one.

An expensive, highly fragile, easily broken high-tech toy like the F-22 is utterly unsuited for that reality. And that is why it had to go. Now, if only the United States would retool the rest of its military into a manoeuvre-based, nimble, decentralised, highly responsive 3rd Generation structure, like the British Navy in Horatio Nelson's time, or the Israeli Defence Force prior to about 1980, then perhaps this country might actually have a shot at winning a war against a 4th Generation opponent.

Of course, all of this "strategery" had nothing to do with why Obarmy and his people cancelled the F-22. They did it because, fundamentally, they do not like the idea of a strong America. That they inadvertently ended up making a sensible decision for once is merely a by-product of that hatred of America's strength, and the virtue exhibited by that strength.

For Bill Whittle, and Ronald Reagan, and all other conservative types who truly understand strength, recognise what liberals like Obarmy never can. Quiet strength, when judiciously applied and demonstrated, is a wonderful deterrent against aggression. It is for precisely this reason that Reagan insisted on rebuilding America's military after a decade of severe cuts, and it was his insistence on doing so that broke the back of the Soviet Union's effort to achieve parity and then dominance.

In contests between states, the state which is demonstrably stronger and therefore more easily able to go on the offensive, can often win confrontations without a single shot being fired. It is, quite simply, the power of power.

And that is the one quality of Reagan's philosophy that America appears to have completely forgotten.

Comments

  1. Also - that strength of military is only a symptom. If the society behind it is one of "sheepdogs" as Grossman would put it (as much as I think he relied to much on bad stats and "video games are bad, mmmkay"), one where power is distributed, decentralized, and lethal force to evildoers is available around every corner, then 4GW warriors will have a very very tough time.

    If, OTOH, only the centralized power structure has deadly force, and a single memetic ideology controls what thoughts CAN be thunk, then the structure is fragile, and vulnerable.

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    1. Very good points and very true. The only way to fight a 4GW opponent is to have a decentralised, heavily armed, and deeply committed society that understands what it believes in and is willing to fight for the same.

      Which, sadly, is precisely what the United States is becoming less like every day.

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