Posted by: cousindampier | 16 September 2009

The Gamble and the end of an era

I really don’t want to just post links here with some thoughts about them. It’s a process which drags me down; suddenly every article becomes important or has some hidden meaning, and beyond that, I don’t even know what I’m looking for. The topics I have here, though general guidelines, don’t correlate well to jumping into a pool looking for specificity.

Having said that, I’m currently reading Thomas Ricks’ The Gamble (only a year late). The causailty which America got backwards for so long in Iraq was that political success would lead to improved security; this was discredited over 2006 and the causality eventually reversed in 2007.

Causality, for the large part, scares me. Connecting A to B is easy in a lot of cases, but usually incorrect because A to B doesn’t account for C, D, and Z. With politics and security, admittedly two large topics, the causality takes the form of a race in which two people are tied together – they both have one free-working leg, but the other is tied up.

For political processes to be successful, you do have to have some basis of security or legitimacy in the process. Simultaneously, security needs to bring something about – security for security’s sake does make sense, but in a chaotic environment, something needs to be built on the security and, more importantly, something needs to legitimize the security.

Another interesting factor was the changeover in leadership occurring in 2006. Reading military history, commanders sacked and replaced during any war is a prominent theme (read: France during World War I). Ricks may be right when, in the book, he says that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 may well have been the last gasp of the blitzkrieg form of warfare, but it was not until Pace was fired as head of the Joint Chiefs where the last leader in charge of the post-Cold War hangover left.

The end of this era is, perhaps, also the end of the nation-state war. We will still see state wars, and we will probably see a few more of the nation-state variety, but a war in which the entire state mobilizes, viewing the opposing state as an evil in all respects which need be defeated and no segment of society is to escape the conflict? Most certainly on the downslope of its historical era.


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