Foreign Policy and How to Fight Insurgencies
Popular insurgencies depend on being popular. You find ways of undermining their popularity while making genuine efforts to secure and improve your popularity, you’ll have a greater chance of winning the fight (assuming that the fight is something that can be won in the first place).
It’s not a question of superior firepower or technology. It’s a question of using good tactics and strategies, based on the conditions that are actually present (which is opposed to the ones that you think are present). A well entrenched, organized, popularly supported faction will always beat a larger, more physically powerful, better funded faction in the lesser factions’ backyard. It’s a question differences of morale, narrative, energy, supply and strategic advantages that lead to these less than intuitive outcomes in the real world.
This is why/how the Vietnamese factions beat the Americans in the 1960’s and 70’s. It is how the Afghans beat out/is beating out the Greek, British, Russian and American forces. It’s how the Irish won independence. It’s how the India won independence. It’s all these cases throughout time and space where popularly supported resistance groups beat out stronger, better funded, more able armies and navies, simply by being able to blend into the shadows and to strike at will.
Like smoke, it they tend to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. That is how we breath them in when we attack their home territory, and they simply go to work eroding our lungs in the meantime.
Fighting these wars means redefining what wars are acceptable and appropriate to be fought, on a strategic and social level. It’s about changing policies, such that the narrative changes for the people who are impacted, such that they’re actually more inclined to strike a reasonable and mutually beneficial (at least, non-destructive) agreement/understanding with your society or faction.
The ultimate goal of this tack is peace, stability, harmony amongst peoples and cohabitation of planet Earth. While it is true that there will be malevolent factors in our larger social world who simply wish ill for the sake of wishing ill, it must be remembered that these are a) the exception to the general rule of humanity and b) have to be studied and identified on a case by case basis, rather than generalizing the whole of the world as being hostile to reasonable American interests and desires. The United States cannot afford to have anything and everything that it could possibly want/need, simply because its current set of leaders have a psychological disinclination towards accepting natural boundaries. We fail to achieve freedom when we put it ahead of our physical, social and environmental needs. This is precisely what conservatives do whenever they become in charge of our foreign policy apparati. They see the US as a “City on a Hill”, and therefore, above everybody else, simply because they and their authorities say it is so. This is delusional and sick reasoning that, on the empirical, practical level, leads to more conflicts, greater animosity and less freedom, peace and stability in the world for everybody (including American citizens).
This is the science and the reasoning behind entrenched popular conflicts. A larger power can either make calculated and reasoned concessions to the “lesser” power to achieve a level of mutual respect and friendship between parties, or they can continue to insist on the unreasonable and unrealistic, and continue to be drained of their life’s blood as a result of the prolonged, protracted and pointless conflict.
What real politik fails to acknowledge, as a theory, is that humans are generally pro-social creatures; that the world is not an inherently hostile place, and that you can have real and lasting friendships with people and amongst peoples. There are the anti-social few who have to be guarded against (and I think it would be wisest for us to start on this front at home). It is our duty to extend the olive branches of peace, while maintaining the arrows of defense in the background in case of conflict. It is better to know accurately and identify potential friends and enemies, both amongst nations and within nations, such that we can make the best possible policy moves in all cases. Real politik doesn’t acknowledge friendship or the value and power of friendship. Even if this is a delusional lala land, it still can fall under the old perogative of “keeping one’s friends close and one’s enemies closer.” Better to cuddle up with everyone and then press the knife in quietly to those who are unpopular and unliked within other societies (not just because we don’t like them).
The radicals who will oppose us are more likely to alienate themselves in their own societies, if given the chance to do so. They’re also the ones who are easiest to pick off, because they are the ones whom nobody likes, even in their own societies.
Those who are good for the other (not good for us in our definition of “good”) are the ones we should be supporting, like a good friend supporting a good relationship between one friend (society) and another (their government). In the end, it has to be on the other society’s terms, as to who governs, when and how. That’s not America’s business, quite frankly. But it is our business if they threaten the security and well being of the world, as well as the security and well being of the United States of America.
Again, peace first.
Think about it.
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