Friday, December 14, 2018

Facepalm Of The Week.

Richard Haas wrote yet another (many others wrote similar crap, see Fukuyama's recent piece in this very same Foreign Affairs, among others) pretentious meandering piece on, what else, global "order", or disorder if one wishes, and continued a glorious tradition of American political "scientists", "diplomats" and other former bureaucrats in avoiding speaking about real reasons for decried by them "decay" or this global order. Haas starts with a wowser of generalizations in his piece titled How a World Order Ends:
I don't know if Haas senses a deep sarcasm in this his statement but the point is--those who proclaimed themselves the enforcer of this "order" succeeded gloriously in destabilizing the world they thought they "won" by the end of the Cold War. Since the times after late George H.W. Bush, that is starting from Clinton getting to power, terms "skillful statecraft" and the US can not be used in the same sentence since the degradation of American elites responsible for this alleged "craft" is nothing short of catastrophic both for the US and for the world. Haas is one of those "elites". So, to prove that he is "elite" and "intellectual" he, of course, waxes "historical". He gets to the point by predictably asking:
What lessons can be drawn from this history? As much as anything else, the rise and fall of major powers determines the viability of the prevailing order, since changes in economic strength, political cohesion, and military power shape what states can and are willing to do beyond their borders.  
He goes onto drawing parallels and looking for power balance symmetries in the events of the 19th century and this is where most American "thinkers" make huge mistake. History really teaches very little (albeit some generalizations, of course, are possible and even necessary for human nature is slow in changing), it certainly taught very little people like Haas, or Fukuyama who time after time buy into own pseudo-intellectual constructs trying to rationalize a subject which neither Haas, Fukuyama, Allison and most of the crop of the American, ahem, scholars have no clue about--the nature of military power and its application. It is simply not there; not having this clue about what, actually, always defined, defines and will continue to define balance of power, global "order", what have you in the foreseeable future, is rather peculiar feature of American (and Western) political scientists. Of course, appeals to history are cute, knowing few facts more about Metternich or about wording of some 19th Century treaty than your opponent makes a good background for "intellectual" exchange, debate and, eventual arrival to some form of intellectual "discovery" (especially if a good Scotch and cigar are involved) but in order to learn actual history one must learn real military history with all that it entails.They also must understand this simple (can I be arrogant and claim it?) Martyanov's axiom--world class military power is a function of the world-class nation-state, especially its economic and scientific potential. Both cannot exist without each-other.

Once such a commitment to actually learning stuff is made, one inevitably will arrive to conclusions on HOW and WHY "rise and fall of major powers" happens and this is a tricky and very sensitive issue for the United States because she is NOT a continental warfare power. With the exception of a turkey shoot of a third rate Saddam's Army in the Gulf and, granted, a magnificent victory in the Pacific during WW II, all other military events in the American history were of secondary importance when ranked against the background of a global military history. US "victories" in both WWI and WWII were coalition victories with the US arriving very late to the fight. American Civil War, while of importance as a first bona fide war of the industrial age (well, Crimean War certainly qualifies too) was primarily internal US and, to a degree, British endeavor. In other words, America's rise as a global power was predetermined primarily, apart from undeniable American technological and industrial genius, by a combination of very unique favorable circumstances in which NOT fighting a continental war with all it entails was a defining factor in American emergence as a true global player after WW II. Hence a rather foolhardy attitudes towards a war in the US because people who call on it all the time, including Haas (he wanted the US to be a global sheriff), Kagan cabal, US policy-makers and other public "servants" know extremely well that in case of war their asses will still reside in the safety of the America-proper while American GIs will die for whatever BS doctrine is a fad any given day in D.C. 

Haas needs, however, to justify the failure of the American doctrine-mongering (he knows about this failure, if he doesn't--then it is the case for medical psychology, not history) and he does what most of them do, he deludes himself with this:
Although Russia has avoided any direct military challenge to NATO, it has nonetheless shown a growing willingness to disrupt the status quo: through its use of force in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine since 2014, its often indiscriminate military intervention in Syria, and its aggressive use of cyberwarfare to attempt to affect political outcomes in the United States and Europe.   
It is a very telling (false through and through) passage since it discloses a nagging, barely hidden under the surface, complex of inferiority they feel. It is schizophrenic really, akin to Russophrenia--when one has to both proclaim the US the "greatest" power that ever was, while having zero evidence of this power's military successes in the second half of the 20th and, especially, 21st centuries to support such claims. So, Haas and his keen of "intellectuals" who influence US foreign policy need to use a mental therapy by inventing things which are not there:

1. For starters, there is nothing, zero, "indiscriminate" in Russia's participation--Russia was invited to Syria by this country's legitimate government, does Mr.Haas know this? Russia kills in Syria, using a lot of SMART munitions, a Jihad Internationale ranging from ISIS, Al Qaeda to other unicorns ("democratic" head choppers supported by the US and her allies). US desperately wanted Russia and Assad government to fail--but since they didn't study military history they knew very little about what Russia's objectives were and how she fights in Syria. So people like Haas are really pissed--yet another of their forecast didn't pan out. 

2. Russia didn't really use her force in Ukraine. Yes, Russia, obviously, supports LDNR republics but I wouldn't call it use of force since if the force would have been really used, Ukraine would cease to exist as a state really-really fast with NATO getting a western rump of this largely failed state, while LDNR with Russia's help would reconstitute something new in the East and South of present day Ukraine. So, why Haas writes an obvious BS in supposedly scholarly magazine is a mystery. Self-medicating mentally? Possible.   

3. Ah, yes, Russiagate, Russians "meddling" in Western "democracies". Surely both Russia and US conduct cyber operations but this whole circus with Russia "influencing" outcomes is really pathetic (did Haas call Muller recently, I am sure after two years of "investigation" we all will get "evidence" about Russians subverting US "democracy" any minute now) and characteristic of a lack of any self-respect and huge insecurity of US "elites" who long ago hit the bottom and are on the level of travelers to Roswell in their attempts to connect spiritually with aliens. 

In general, there is nothing scholarly in this continuous, often murky, stream of recent American "thinkers" theses, ranging from magazine articles to books, since in their continuous lament about collapse of Pax Americana, or "global order", or "liberal order", whatever the moniker they want to slap on the global chaos the US is trying to perpetuate in an attempt to save its hegemony, they continuously forget to mention one simple military fact. This fact is the loss of American insulation from conventional warfare (who wants to fight a nuclear war, no, really?) she enjoyed since WW II and facing a very grim reality of getting conventional strikes on US Command and Control and military industrial infrastructure in case of igniting conventional conflict with, say, Russia. It is this massive change in military-strategic paradigm, driven this time by a very real, not contrived, Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) which the US appeared to be not ready for. This is what drives this mass hysteria among those who want to blame their own lack of knowledge, education, foresight and of this proverbial statecraft on everyone else but themselves. Indeed, with "scholars" and "thinkers" like Haas (or Fukuyama, or Allison, or.....theirs is the army) there is very little surprise that the United States finds itself where it is. In other words, those "scholars" should have known better but they haven't and for that they have only themselves to blame, even if hiding behind pseudo-scientific rhetoric about "global order", because in the end one reaps what one sows.        

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