Even war has a grammar.
Obama’s underlying rule may be “least war possible”, and with a long war involving a modern state with both its amenities and technologies and contracting methods riding right along with the Navy, such guidance would have practical as well as political ramifications. As America’s 21st Century Roman arrogance declined precipitously with the Vietnam War, and it may be suggested at least that adventure into every subsequent engagement has been beneath its shadow.
In essence, from financial, strategic, and tactical perspectives, the United States may be fighting the war it can.
(I’m going to hit “enter” here but continue thoughts the “least war possible”).
With nuclear weapons in the wings and an enemy loaded with self-serving grandiose presumptions of a civilizational nature, working around “the least war possible”, travels sideways to the belligerent’s want of a “clash of civilizations”: Russia may not be so subtle about facing challenges from Islam (as illustrated in Chechnya), but NATO would seem to be working hard to preserve Islam, to validate Muslim identity, but also to allow or actually enable it to evolve.
This, of course, is where the west mires itself in strident anti-Jihad, apologist, Islamic defense, and reformist arguments.
In my blog, I use 9:29 as signal to the kind of passage the surrounding world will not tolerate and signal to the behavior, the intolerance, that the greater Muslim society, the Ummah, itself cannot tolerate having been twisted into the first target of the intolerant and venal.
So “the least war possible” may not only extend military and related political and social capital (post-Vietnam), it also buys time to let nature — our lovely gregarious human nature — weather away the sharp edges of Muhammad’s expression culminating both in a greater monotheist allegiance but also his own singular glorification.
(More to come).
For “realpolitik”, the Arab center of the Islamic universe gets a “follow-on” by way of “the least war possible”.
Instead of the discomfort and tragedy of an incalculable nature considering the cross-cultural integument built on the backbone of the energy trade and related reinvestment, “the English”, also everyone else, and “the Arab” come out of this with many good things near term — this references the Shiite vs. Sunni variable in displacing the Iranian Ayatollah’s power, defending Israel (and the west), and preserving for greater development an informed global experience that has become the open society experience by way of immense investments in education and research across an entire universe of interests, much including philology and religion (in which regard, I’m a pretty good starving example of an average, maybe a little bit better, not-yet-successful western artist and intellectual: I have the formal empirical and literary experiences through graduate work, and some 30 years later a 2,000-volume in-apartment library . . . and a home on the web (no contracts, no paychecks — a shame, for sure, if it weren’t for the intellectual freedom experienced).
Forgive me the digression.
The “least war possible” would seem to advance Sunni Islam by way of the leverage available from the Saudi sphere of influence.
As the Saudis must see themselves in mirrored in the World Wide Web AND as the west urges reforms AND as internal pressures develop (God has praised the daughters of generals), “the least war possible” also obtains time for a slow rate of inevitable transformation. This the Jihad vs. anti-Jihad forces may not understand, and so here on Facebook they are at each other’s throats in “Islamists vs. Zionists” (open group), but even that is part of bringing a closed kettle — yes, a pressure cooker — to a simmer, such that everyone in it stews a bit but nothing explodes in the way that it could.
(more to come).
For either Afghanistan and Pakistan — or all involved in the South Asian sphere of “Islamist” operations — “the least war possible” may be experienced as a brutal drag.
Perhaps a hardened old salt would call it “a learning experience”, which it may be — it takes time to filter and train up an anti-Jihadist military and police from within the bastions of Islam, even if the same understand both their own self-preserving interests in the matter as well as the necessity of developing a greater environment — “improved qualities in living” may be a term I’ll use — for themselves and their generations.
Still, compared to peace (now), the process plainly sucks.
Here I will add one more thing but from my web-based education and inspiration this year: the problems of the Islamic Small Wars and those posed by every conflict, development, and employment challenge have a “geo-spatial” aspect to them: even the best and most ethical of educators, engineers, planners, and policy makers cannot address every problem everywhere all at once!
What I have heard from friends in South America and seen in Pakistan is that “writ of state” blurs wherever police and troops cannot be delivered to a firefight inside of something like 30 minutes.
(more to come; I’m on a roll)
In the imagination, the United States and NATO maintain awesome martial ability and firepower, and Islamic state partners in the “War on Terror” have ample potential themselves as regards material and troop assets; however, “the enemy” has not been for a long time a a large conventional force emerging at the edge of to-be-contested territory as infantry and tank columns. As with the FARC in Colombia or the dueling cartel in Mexico, th
” . . . emerging in tank columns” . . . . The Assad “battle plan”, or lack thereof, in Syria provides a fair example of what happens when a state applies the conventional hammer to a host of clever fleas, and so the regime has destroyed city blocks, many neighborhoods, practically the life of entire cities, and apart from expressing its pique by way of such destruction, it hasn’t contained or neutralized its rebel opposition.
From an observation standpoint, just looking at satellite photos of the destruction, Assad’s Syria, by way of conventional military force, has been eating itself alive.
Now I’ll return to the “geo-spatial” variable as regards Pakistan’s military and police and Afghanistan and NATO forces in the region: to secure any location by way of “the least war possible” (!) involves growing human assets in each to take care of themselves, this as opposed to building an enormous structure of airstrips, forts, and roads capable of fully policing (also, alas, perhaps abusing) constituents out to the edge of the “writ of the state”.
Lo and behold: in its human and political aspect, our lovely blue marble of a planet sustains ample dark and unsettled spaces, also known as “frontier”.
In regard to “dark space” and “frontier”, the geo-spatial aspect involved in combing out Taliban readying plans from remote locations or close-by but overlooked urban backrooms, basements, and garages — anonymity is a dark space — for mayhem and murder to be visited on others help make “the least war possible” the only war approachable.
(more, but I’m running out of energy)
There may be many political answers in regard to the persistance of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other similarly motivated organizations around the world, but the pursuit of the “least war possible” may acccount for balancing military and political capital with needs over time, for encouraging political and spiritual evolution across a broad human canvass in space and time, and for meeting spatial challenges involved in grooming what most hope will be a better world.
Life is life, should be enjoyed, made better for the living.
Death and sacrificial cults exists here and there on our planet, but in the Taliban (of interest here) and potential in Islam there seems an unpalatable want of heaven (now) for which death is presented as a desirable gateway.
Even if we ourselves should turn out “Islamists” and agree on this, I’d gamble on one or the other saying, “You first” — and in actuality, that is what happens: the seduced must allow their leaders to go on with the “burden” of surviving.
It’s a bad deal.
I don’t believe all of the “B’nai Israel” along the Durand Line have bought it or mean to keep it, but the God Mob has developed means and ways, and whether such manners persist in southern Sicily (for money and fearful respect) or up in the ranges approaching the roof the earth (for money and fearful respect cloaked in religion), they’re tough in their redoubts and making war is primarily what they make.