“Is there any longer a clear distincion between being at war and not being at war?”
Courtesy of Lexington Green:
Our British friends have become alarmed at self-radicalization of British Muslims juxtaposed with the “uncertainty”effect of the EU on the national security of the U.K. and the moral malaise of the British elite. The RUSI Risk, Threat and Security: The case of the United Kingdom (PDF) outlines a scenario where a situation recognizable as 4GW, a situation that if left unchecked, imperils primary loyalty to the British Crown.
The authors, who include General Sir Rupert Smith, are UK heavyweights and this document has the air of a call to arms reminiscent of Kennan’s X Article or the Iron Curtain speech. Fascinating.
February 26th, 2008 at 3:57 pm
Strong read. Re: 11 Sep’s "inevitable successor", would not this election year be the perfect moment to fire again? I’m not much of a political creature, so this is genuine inquiry: if McCain is the GOP candidate for POTUS, would not another spectacular a-Q strike all but inaugurate McCain over any Democratic candidate? (And would this not be exactly what is best for re-legitimizing a-Q, a GOP POTUS to carry on a perceived War on Islam?) I’m a US citizen, so of course I don’t wish any strikes against the nation. Merely want to be psychologically steeled for them, when I see opportunity and the enemy’s interests coincident.
February 26th, 2008 at 8:28 pm
Seems to me the enemy would want Obama, who is a pacifist, and who is going to withdraw our military from Iraq and Afghanistan — supposedly. If he does that, the vacuum can be filled by AQ and its allies and like-minded fellow salafist-jihadis. Some patience on the enemy’s part should pay big dividends — the scenes on TV of the people who cooperated with the coaltion in Iraq and NATO in Afghanistan being massacred, our enemies rampaging through our abandoned bases burning US flags … These images will be very helpful to our enemies for many years to come. It is all on the table if they just sit quietly and wait for Commander in Chief Obama to do what he has promised to do. Obama will hand them a huge and unearned win if they just sit back and let him. Napoleon said that when your enemy is in the process of destroying himself, stay out of his way. Always words to heed. Our enemies may not know the original quote, but we have no reason to think they do not understand the concept.
February 26th, 2008 at 9:09 pm
From my position of near ignorance (and I mean that sincerely, not facetiously), sure I could see it going that way as well. But it does hinge on Obama doing in office what Obama promised before office. If I might, let me take your line to a couple further questions: iff Obama (or some POTUS) were to give in to the major fighting points of a-Q (stop supporting Israel, withdraw troops from Saudi Arabia, etc.), would more or fewer people of Islam support the a-Q radicals? I thought it possible that without an infidel army to legitimize a-Q complaints, support of a-Q falls off, something a-Q does not want, and therefore they’d prefer some GOP (or other) POTUS who won’t back down? Is a-Q not the kind of organism that needs an enemy to define itself, to thrive, even to exist?
[want to be clear that none of this should be construed as my own preference for/against Obama, McCain, or other candidates — they’re all too big guv’mint for me]
February 27th, 2008 at 3:21 am
I agree, Moon, that AQ may attempt to "vote" via a terror event or at least a videotape. my fear is that, being unable to pull off a decisive catastrophic attack, they make resort to a replication of Beslan here. That’s a dicey call though; Zawahiri has shown evidence in the past that he understands the strategic IO costs of ghoulish violence like internet beheadings to AQ’s "brand".
Obama is less a pacifist per se than simply an uninformed, inexperienced, Leftist in his foreign policy views. He took a highly coveted seat on the Foreign Relations Committee yet did little with it, even as a freshman and his tenure on Homeland Security – where you could really find something to raise cain about – is equally undistinguished. The " I will withdraw from Iraq" pledge is utter nonsense – leaving in anything more orderly than a rout would take twenty months minimum, assuming everything went smoothly. And it wouldn’t. All hell will break loose and President Obama would either have to abruptly reverse course or take the cosmic level defeat on his party’s tab that Lex described above. I don’t see him as being blindly ideological enough to want to self-destruct his administration just to please the internet shrieker chorus on the Left.
February 27th, 2008 at 4:27 am
"I don’t see him as being blindly ideological enough to want to self-destruct his administration just to please the internet shrieker chorus on the Left."
What if he really means what he says? What if the shrieking chorus is shrieking behind that benign visage, too?
Assuming a politician cannot possibly mean what he says is often a mistake, particularly ideologically motivated politicians, particularly would-be-messianic politicians.
If he is ignorant as he seems, he may take the step without grasping what he is doing or what the consequences are. And if he is as arrogant as he seems, he won’t listen when people who know better try to tell him. I think that is highly possible.
Did you see Spengler’s piece on Obama?
What if the ultra-pessimistic Spengler is (pretty much) correct about the man?
As you can see, I am starting to worry about this guy.
February 28th, 2008 at 4:22 pm
It’s an interesting article and I found its brief comments about Russia particularly noteworthy. In the early 1990’s I had a number of friends and acquaintances who did some consulting there without knowledge of the language, the history, the society or much of anything else other than an MBA or JD and I remember commenting rather bitterly about it at the time. Russia’s problems were deeper than needing a modern system of jurisprudence or not being up-to-date on management methods. There was and is a profound poverty of institutions.
Lex, I’m not so sure about your interpretation of Obama. The foreign policy papers he’s put out suggest a continuation of the interventionist foreign policies of the last quarter century (at least) rather than a pacifist. And in lawyerly fashion he’s left plenty of wiggle room in his statements on Iraq to allow him to continue a policy hard to distinguish from Bush’s while preaching against it.
BTW, I think Spengler’s article is a little overwrought.
March 1st, 2008 at 6:16 am
Though the attack on Spain caused the people to turn against their government I think that is an unlikely reaction in Europe and the Anglosphere. More like further massive attacks will inspire large-scale responses, including many of the 4GW and 5GW measures that our host has been discussing.
The AQ gang has to realize this. I suspect they will try to mount giant demoralizing attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, and step up the heroin smuggling into the USA yet another level, in order to drive home their message of doom doom despair and doom. That might get a pacifist Democrat into office. And AQ doesn’t need a real enemy to recruit jihad warriors. They already have 91 million true believing supporters based on the Jihad theology of Dar al Harb. They’d rather not have people over in their home base trying to kill them. Earlier attempts by OBL and other AQ assassins to intimidate Americans to vote against Bush failed because the majority of Americans still have warrior spirits. Look to what happened in Iraq in 2006 for the model they will try to follow this year, with another spectacular scheduled for after the elections just like the plane bombing plot was planned for the end of 2006.
March 1st, 2008 at 2:16 pm
A riveting prediction, Herr Pangloss. It prompts me to ask you to extend your prediction w.r.t. a-Q major operations should the pacifist Democrat in office event come to pass. Do you see the war winnable (for the US) by stratagem, or only by long hard tactical attrition? I want to believe that there is some way to cut into Mujahid recruiting. Having had more conversations in the US with war opponents than proponents, I have doubts that we will collectively take a-Q to the mat in a long war on the current course. That’s why I cast about for back-door stratagems. So consider this: is a one-term pacifist Democrat exactly what we need in order to re-group our operations and re-energize the martial spirit of the citizenry? A respite to falsely embolden the enemy.