[…] I mean, consider that the greatest military power in the world today has not won a war in seventy-five years. So accustomed now is the world to this fact that it seems unremarkable when statesmen and commanders regularly voice the most astonishing garbage. ‘There is no military solution’, they say while deploying military force somewhere to do something, with a fig leaf of ‘whole of government’ other means—almost always badly-organised, ill-conceived, and under-skilled, though surprisingly often well-funded.
When asked in 2009 to define ‘victory’ in Afghanistan, President Obama demurred. The word worried him, he said.[iii] It’s not as though Obama was talking out of school, either. The irrelevance of ‘victory’ in contemporary conflict is in fact the orthodoxy taught in the staff colleges and university departments of international affairs where the foreign policy establishment (aka the ‘Blob’) is trained. Perhaps no one should be surprised at this since as far as the academy is concerned the simple question ‘what is war?’ is also a matter of debate.[iv].
Recently, ex-Secretary of Defence James Mattis, also by reputation one of the toughest and most capable of modern American generals, co-wrote a pre-emptive rebuke of whoever should take over the presidency in January 2021, Donald Trump or Joe Biden. American involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere must not be dismissed as ‘endless’ or ‘forever’ wars. The ‘work’ of building the capacity of other nations to govern themselves in ways that suit the Blob is neither ‘quick’ or ‘linear’ but is an ‘investment’ in ‘security’.[v] For readers not fluent in Blobbish, that means ‘forever wars’, just don’t you dare call them that. Läs artikel