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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) American military power (Read 682 times)
Limey.
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American military power
Feb 9th, 2018 at 7:12am
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I’m starting this thread after seeing Mr. Seawolf make a thought provoking comment about scaling back.

What do you all think about the following:

1. The place of the US on the world stage
2. How significant is your military in influencing that place
3. Your alliances and aims
4. The level of spending
5. The threat you face now, the future threat
6. The past 100 years- lessons of geopolitical strategy and military preparedness
7. The sale, gift and leasing of military kit as a economic and political tool (at home and abroad)

1000 word summaries please, full dissertation by the end of the month  Grin
  

Under Capitalism, Man exploits Man.

Under Communism, it's the exact opposite.
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Limey.
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Re: American military power
Reply #1 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:32am
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Bueller? Bueller?  Anyone?
  

Under Capitalism, Man exploits Man.

Under Communism, it's the exact opposite.
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Harrys Sockpuppet4335
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Re: American military power
Reply #2 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:33am
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Limey. wrote on Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:32am:
Bueller? Bueller?  Anyone?


Mueller is the new Bueller.
  

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EF
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Re: American military power
Reply #3 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:38am
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Limey. wrote on Feb 9th, 2018 at 7:12am:
I’m starting this thread after seeing Mr. Seawolf make a thought provoking comment about scaling back.

What do you all think about the following:

1. The place of the US on the world stage
2. How significant is your military in influencing that place
3. Your alliances and aims
4. The level of spending
5. The threat you face now, the future threat
6. The past 100 years- lessons of geopolitical strategy and military preparedness
7. The sale, gift and leasing of military kit as a economic and political tool (at home and abroad)

1000 word summaries please, full dissertation by the end of the month  Grin


Interesting questions, the answers to which are well above both the pay grade and level of intelligence of most of the people who frequent this board.  But number 7 made me think of Roosevelt's (probably unconstitutional) "lend lease program" of WWII.

His reasoning was he'd rather furnish the stuff and let others furnish the blood (I am oversimplifying, but not by much) as long as possible.  But his action was not about economics or politics.  It was about survival of the free world, even though a worse dictator than Hitler was helping us do it.  (As Roosevelt agreed with someone once, "Yes, Stalin is a son of a bitch, but he's OUR son of a bitch.")
  

non sumus stulti
but
accidit stercore
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EF
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Re: American military power
Reply #4 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:40am
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Harrys Sockpuppet4335 wrote on Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:33am:
Mueller is the new Bueller.


Mueller's theme song:

"Ding dong the witch ain't dead
the witch ain't dead
the witch ain't dead

Ding dong the witch ain't dead....
YET."
  

non sumus stulti
but
accidit stercore
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Re: American military power
Reply #5 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:42am
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Limey. wrote on Feb 9th, 2018 at 7:12am:
I’m starting this thread after seeing Mr. Seawolf make a thought provoking comment about scaling back.

What do you all think about the following:

1. The place of the US on the world stage
2. How significant is your military in influencing that place
3. Your alliances and aims
4. The level of spending
5. The threat you face now, the future threat
6. The past 100 years- lessons of geopolitical strategy and military preparedness
7. The sale, gift and leasing of military kit as a economic and political tool (at home and abroad)

1000 word summaries please, full dissertation by the end of the month  Grin

The MAD, MAD, World of "Mutual Assured Destruction" and the strategic Balance of Power achieved a sort of egalitarianism between the two Superpowers and the allies of both the United States and the Soviet Union.

One of the unintended consequences of the fall of the Soviet Union has been the disruption of the Balance of Power.  Power vacuums have constantly arisen which can be directly attributable to this Power imbalance.

This is a very good visual 'chalk talk' of this very point..



Even the domestic policies of the United States reflect how Americans are now wrestling with the role of America as the only Superpower, even as other nations are actively trying to become the dominant power in the coming new world order.

  

" The few will always act like the few.

Machiavelli

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Re: American military power
Reply #6 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:42am
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EF wrote on Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:38am:
Interesting questions, the answers to which are well above both the pay grade and level of intelligence of most of the people who frequent this board.  But number 7 made me think of Roosevelt's (probably unconstitutional) "lend lease program" of WWII.

His reasoning was he'd rather furnish the stuff and let others furnish the blood (I am oversimplifying, but not by much) as long as possible.  But his action was not about economics or politics.  It was about survival of the free world, even though a worse dictator than Hitler was helping us do it.  (As Roosevelt agreed with someone once, "Yes, Stalin is a son of a bitch, but he's OUR son of a bitch.")


Roosevelt was a clairvoyant who knew Reagan would come along later to clean up the mess he made.
  

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Demos
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Re: American military power
Reply #7 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:58am
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Limey. wrote on Feb 9th, 2018 at 7:12am:
1. The place of the US on the world stage

It's in decline, and if we start pulling out of trade agreements, etc. we'll see our influence decline even further.

Quote:
2. How significant is your military in influencing that place

See Syria, operations in Africa, etc. Unless we're going to put the full force of the military behind our policy, then it's not going to be a significant influence IMHO.

Quote:
3. Your alliances and aims

Who the hell knows what our aims are right now. The Secretary of State is saying we're going to be in Syria indefinitely to counter Iran and achieve regime change. Meanwhile the Secretary of Defense says our focus is on ISIS and we'll drawing down troops soon.

As far as alliances go, we're going to need them to counter revisionist powers. TPP is an example of alliance that would have allowed us to use economic agreements to balance against China in the Pacific. But we're not a fan of trade agreements right now.

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4. The level of spending

Can't be maintained indefinitely.

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5. The threat you face now, the future threat

Terrorism will always be a threat (that's just the way the world is now), but future threats: cyberwarfare (e.g., Russia), Chinese aggression in the Pacific (specifically the South China Sea), and obviously North Korea's nuclear posture.

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6. The past 100 years- lessons of geopolitical strategy and military preparedness

We need to be flexible and careful about where/why we choose to get involved.

Quote:
7. The sale, gift and leasing of military kit as a economic and political tool (at home and abroad)

Can be useful if you know who you're selling/gifting to and that you actually want to help them achieve their aims.
  
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Re: American military power
Reply #8 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 12:36pm
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Okay there's going to be some devils advocacy in this response.  But I think it's actually necessary in this conversation.

Demos wrote on Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:58am:
It's in decline, and if we start pulling out of trade agreements, etc. we'll see our influence decline even further.


In what way is it in decline?

Is it in decline in the same way that conservatives criticized Obama for 8 years for squandering our place on the world stage?

Is it in decline because the underpinnings of the reasons for our influence are faulty?  For example ...

1- Are we less of an economic powerhouse on the world stage?  Do foreign governments want our business less?  Do foreign companies want to sell to our citizens less?  Are they finding more lucrative markets in say ... Somalia these days?

2- Are we less of a military powerhouse on the world stage than we've been in the past?

There's a difference between perception and reality.  Has the reality shifted to match some people's perception?  If not ... is that perception any more valid than it was when it was a perception held by said conservatives under Obama?

If the perception doesn't match the reality, how long does it take before perception is forced to acknowledge reality?

Quote:
See Syria, operations in Africa, etc. Unless we're going to put the full force of the military behind our policy, then it's not going to be a significant influence IMHO.


Are these significant areas that our influence is important on?

Which outcome in Syria enhances our influence?  Which one diminishes it?  Africa?

And in what way is that relevant to our dealings with say ... Japan.  Or Germany? 

Quote:
Who the hell knows what our aims are right now. The Secretary of State is saying we're going to be in Syria indefinitely to counter Iran and achieve regime change. Meanwhile the Secretary of Defense says our focus is on ISIS and we'll drawing down troops soon.


Does this increase or decrease our influence?  If people don't know where we stand on an issue are we more or less influential as a result?  Does their perception of where we stand on an issue even matter if the reality underpinning those perceptions is stronger than the perceptions? 

Quote:
As far as alliances go, we're going to need them to counter revisionist powers. TPP is an example of alliance that would have allowed us to use economic agreements to balance against China in the Pacific. But we're not a fan of trade agreements right now.


You say "right now" but are you sure we ever really have been?  The left has been arguing against these trade agreements for decades.  Hell Robert Reich even released this video castigating how bad TPP was for America prior to the campaign.



There were a lot of people that weren't a fan of this trade agreement you've referenced.  And here's a reality that's still relevant:  The United States is 5% of the world's population, yet we consume over 25% of the world's consumer goods across a wide metric of products, and nearly 1/3rd in others.  Does that just go away since we rejected TPP? 

Is that not power and influence?  Regardless of who is president?  Are the American people suddenly negated on the world stage because a president doesn't sign a deal that well over the half the country didn't want?  (Bernie AND Trump supporters)

Quote:
Can't be maintained indefinitely.


Do you think there's any legitimacy to MMT?  I'm torn on this one I'll be honest.  No advocacy here.  A very long time ago a guy I was a fan of on the radio "Jason Lewis" who made his fame on anti taxation and economic issues stated the debt doesn't matter because the American people profit off interest payments.  It always puzzled me coming from him and he never went into it again.  He was a very conservative talk show host.  I suggested a lot of people here look into him and listen to him years ago.  He wound up running for Congress in my old district in Northfield, MN and is currently a Rep in Congress from the state of Minnesota.

I think he was paying lipservice to MMT.  The idea that government spending is basically just moving figures around on a balance sheet. (NOT an accurate representation, just a shortcut)

I'm starting to become quite fascinated by the overlap between leftist/progressive positions on MMT and Trump ... who is pretty publicly on record as a "believer" in MMT and conservatives who seem to be rapidly coming around to that line of thinking.

I dunno man.  I'm not asking you these questions because I'm challenging you.  I'm asking because I respect your insights and your objectivity and your sources. 

I just think there's a lot of rhetoric that doesn't match reality and pundits seem to think we can simply choose the reality we like best.  Crazy world these days.

Queshank
  

BowHunter wrote on Nov 30th, 2017 at 10:24am:
I am not aware of any article
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Re: American military power
Reply #9 - Feb 9th, 2018 at 1:10pm
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Queshank wrote on Feb 9th, 2018 at 12:36pm:
In what way is it in decline?

At our apogee, do you think we would have trouble getting Turkey to back off in Syria?

Quote:
2- Are we less of a military powerhouse on the world stage than we've been in the past?

Yes. Of course, this is relative. Even in decline, we're still more powerful than most nations, but we're not perceived as a serious threat anymore. China's actions in the South China Sea are evidence of this. And this isn't about Obama vs Trump (for me anyway). This has been a long term problem. Its systemic, resulting from our fiscal policies, which the new budget agreement doesn't resolve. And this isn't unique to America (see Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of Great Powers).

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Are these significant areas that our influence is important on?

Good question. The powers that be have determined they are significant; I think we could afford to not have troops there.

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Which outcome in Syria enhances our influence?  Which one diminishes it?

Well, the question is more about how successfully we use our military to influence outcomes in the places we choose to use it. Also, which outcome are we talking about? The ones set forth by Tillerson or the ones by Mattis? That in itself is part of the issue.

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And in what way is that relevant to our dealings with say ... Japan.  Or Germany?
 
Maybe. Though our dealings with North Korea and China are probably more important to Japan.

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Does this increase or decrease our influence?  If people don't know where we stand on an issue are we more or less influential as a result?

If we don't know what our own aims are how can we influence the outcome?

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You say "right now" but are you sure we ever really have been?  The left has been arguing against these trade agreements for decades.

Ok. I'm talking about actual policy. And our policy has been to participate in these agreements. That policy appears to be changing (emphasis on appears as so far these are only short term changes and long term policy may be different). 

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Hell Robert Reich even released this video castigating how bad TPP was for America prior to the campaign.

I think Victor Cha made a convincing argument for American involvement (see Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia).

Quote:
There were a lot of people that weren't a fan of this trade agreement you've referenced.  And here's a reality that's still relevant:  The United States is 5% of the world's population, yet we consume over 25% of the world's consumer goods across a wide metric of products, and nearly 1/3rd in others.  Does that just go away since we rejected TPP? 

You're looking at TPP solely as an economic issue; I'm not. It was also a way to restrain and balance against China, and protect our interests in the region. And while people may still want to sell to us, another example of our influence waning is that the TPP is still moving forward without us, Mexico and Canada are entering other trade agreements, and Latin American is growing closer to China (through trade).

Quote:
Do you think there's any legitimacy to MMT?

Not up on monetary theory, so I had to look it up. As such, not sure I can give an informed opinion on it. I'll just say that I think reducing debts and balancing budgets (or at least maintaining low deficits) are better for our longer term fiscal health and our ability to project power (but that's based on my reading of Kennedy, Mandelbaum, and Bacevich).
  
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