Prof. Bacevich opines his views on American strategy
In this LA Times Opinion piece, professor Andrew Bacevich discusses America’s strategic calculus (or lack thereof) in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Here’s some key, completely copied points:
- “In Washington and in the field, a preoccupation with tactics and operations have induced strategic blindness.”
- “Does perpetuating the Long War make political or strategic sense? As we prepare to enter that war’s ninth year, are there no alternatives?”
- “[P]ragmatism devoid of principle will perpetuate the strategic void that Obama inherited. The urgent need is for the administration to articulate a concrete set of organizing precepts — not simply cliches — to frame basic U.S. policy going forward.”
UPDATE: Someone suggested that I shouldn’t just post articles without adding my own thoughts to them. This is a good suggestion, so let me opine a little of my own here:
> Those who are really in the know, understand that COIN is not a strategy but just a tactic applied to a particular space. However, COIN seems to be supplanting strategic thought as it dominates discourse on how and why we operate in Afghanistan and Iraq. But, while it may be a good tactic on the ground it may prove to be a bad overall strategy that endangers many global and national interests of the US.
I’ve done this once before, but let me pull from The Hannibal Blog to illustrate my point about how winning a COIN campaign on the ground may hurt the strategic interests in the long run. Kluth calls this something of an “impostor of triumph“. While Kluth doesn’t talk about COIN in particular, I believe the following neatly sums up the strategic imperative and how “success” in the short-term may actually lead to “failure” in the long-run.
Failure is often the result of succeeding at the wrong thing (eg, choosing the wrong “battles” and “wars” to win, as Pyrrhus did). Ironically, success is therefore often the result of failing at the wrong thing, and thus having an opportunity to “return” to the right things.
I’ll stop with that, but look for future posts that deal with the time commitment alotted to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, I hope to compare strategies in war with strategies in football. But, this may take me a while and fall close to the start of NFL pre-season.