Relearning War

A B-2 Spirit soars after a refueling mission o...

A B-2 Spirit soars after a refueling mission over the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. The B-2, from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., is part of a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

June 3, 2012 | Dr. Stephen J. Blank

Today, the United States stands at a strategic crossroads. As troops leave Afghanistan and U.S. policy reorients itself toward emphasizing the Asia-Pacific region, the visible signs of being at an inflection point multiply. Yet, there are some glaring absences in U.S. strategic thinking that could again lead us awry, as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, if they are not attended to soon. In pivoting or rebalancing to Asia, the United States has announced a new concept of operations called air-sea battle. Whatever its merits or demerits might be, it cannot fairly be called a strategy, given its absence of a real political dimension that governs the conduct of operations. Moreover, it appears to be premised on the belief that future conflict will be more or less conventional, featuring high-tech, long-range aerial and maritime strike platforms directed against the enemy. Second, despite the turn toward jointness in the last two decades, this operational concept appears to exclude consideration of the necessity of the ground forces to accomplish strategic objectives. This is another reason why the concept cannot be called a strategy; it leaves out the one force that can effectively enforce a strategic conclusion to any future war.

Can we expect our enemies to be so obliging as to allow us to fight the kind of war that we prefer? Such thinking fails to account for the dramatic expansion, over the last generation, of the tools of war and their easy acquisition by any manner of adversary. These new “tools of war” include: asymmetric war, up to and including the threat of nuclear use as, for example, stipulated in Russian doctrine; the massive development of information war, not just cyber-strikes, but the whole issue of exploiting communications media to frame the narrative of contemporary war; “lawfare,” where international law is exploited on behalf of one or more belligerents in any conflict, etc. While war remains a contest of wills as described by Clausewitz, it also remains a chameleon able to assume many forms and manifestations where, as we have seen, the U.S., for all its advantages, still finds strategic success elusive.

If we are to grasp the challenge of the moment, we

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The Globalization of War

The “Military Roadmap” to World War III
Michel Chossudovsky and Finian Cunningham (Editors)
December 2011


[scroll down for Reader’s Table of Contents]
The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest.

The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

The concept of the “Long War” has characterized US military doctrine since the end of World War II. The broader objective of global military dominance in support of an imperial project was first formulated under the Truman administration in the late 1940s at the outset of the Cold War.

In September 1990, some five weeks after Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait, US President and Commander in Chief George Herbert Walker Bush delivered a historical address to a joint session of the US Congress and the Senate in which he proclaimed a New World Order emerging from the rubble of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union.

Bush Senior had envisaged a world of “peaceful international co-operation”, one which was no longer locked into the confrontation between competing super powers, under the shadow of the doctrine of  “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) which had characterized the Cold War era.

George H Walker Bush addressed a Joint Session
of the US Congress and the Senate, September 1990
Bush declared emphatically at the outset of what became known as “the post-Cold War era” that:
“a new partnership of nations has begun, and we stand today at a unique and extraordinary moment. The crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times… a new world order can emerge: A new era freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, east and west, north and south, can prosper and live in harmony.”

Of course, speeches by American presidents are often occasions for cynical platitudes and contradictions that should not be taken at face value. After all, President Bush was holding forth on international law and justice only months after his country had invaded Panama in December 1989 causing the deaths of several thousand citizens – committing crimes comparable to what Saddam Hussein would be accused of and supposedly held to account for. Also in 1991, the US and its NATO allies went on to unleash, under a “humanitarian” mantle, a protracted war against Yugoslavia, leading to the destruction, fragmentation and impoverishment of an entire country.

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No Safe Haven?

The long saga that led to Ratko Mladic‘s arrest shows that international pressure does work. It just takes time.



The arrest of the notorious fugitive Ratko Mladic almost 16 years after his indictment for genocide closes a gaping hole in the otherwise laudable efforts to bring to justice the authors of “ethnic cleansing” in the Balkans. Of the alleged architects of that slaughter, former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic may have been the better known (he managed to drag out proceedings in The Hague until he died, depriving the world of the satisfaction of a judgment); former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic may have been the more flamboyant (his long period in hiding ended in 2008, and he is now on trial in The Hague), but Mladic, the wartime Bosnian Serb military leader, was arguably the most ruthless.

17.09.2009, Bosnien, Srebrenica, xxx. Sprecherin der "Witwen von Srebrenica"  auf dem Gelände der Gedenkstätte von Srebrenica

The Shadows of Srebrenica
Haunting images of the massacre that shamed Europe

Mladic was not an antiseptic killer giving orders from afar. At Srebrenica, the site of the worst atrocity on European soil since World War II, he handed out candy to placate terrified children as he rounded up 8,000 of their fathers and brothers to be machine-gunned to death in the surrounding hills.

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London-Based Muslim Scholar Azzam Tamimi: Islam Liberates Europeans from Their Lives of Stupidity – : “[Freisinger] Belongs to a Group That Wants to Prevent The Islamization of Europe”

The following are excerpts from a TV debate with Azzam Tamimi, director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought, and with Swiss MP Oskar Freysinger, on the Swiss ban on building minarets. The debate aired on Al-Jazeera TV on December 8, 2009.

From 1980 to 1985, Dr. Al-Tamimi worked as a media monitor and news analyst at the U.S. government’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service, and from 1990 to 1991, he directed the Parliamentary Office of the Islamic Movement in Jordan.

Al-Tamimi headed the Liberty for the Muslim World Institute in London, from 1992-1999 and was also a researcher for The Center for the Study of Democracy at Westminster University. Since 1999, Dr. Al-Tamimi has headed The Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London. He is the author of several books, including Hamas: A History From Within.

Al-Tamimi describes himself as a “sympathizer and supporter” of Hamas. “I know some of the senior figures in Hamas,” he said. “Some were my friends, my classmates…” According to The Guardian, he has advised Hamas on media strategy.[1] Palestinian political scientist Muhammad Muslih defines Al-Tamimi, in a study on Hamas’s foreign policy, as “a Hamas member.”

According to a Times Online blog, he has said in a BBC interview that he was prepared to go to Israel and carry out a suicide bombing, and has praised suicide bombers as martyrs.[2]

Al-Tamimi is frequently invited to lecture by Muslim communities in South Africa, the U.S., and Britain, where he resides.[3] He also writes opinion pieces in The Guardian.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit

“The Swiss People Are Drowning in Ignorance”

Azzam Tamimi: “This referendum exposed the huge chasm between the Swiss people and the Swiss political, ideological, and religious elites. The Swiss people are drowning in ignorance. This ignorance was exploited by the neo-Nazis…”

Interviewer: “Neo-Nazis like whom? Like our guest?”

Azzam Tamimi: “Yes, just like Oskar.”

Interviewer: “Our guest is a neo-Nazi, you mean?”

Azzam Tamimi: “Oskar is the new Hitler of Europe. I was talking today with a friend in Switzerland, and he told me that Oskar’s origins are in Austria, just like Hitler’s. He presents a threat to the future of Switzerland and Europe. The Swiss people should be wary of the likes of him. The Nazis of the past led Europe into a destructive war – World War II – causing its complete destruction, and these people too will bring about complete destruction.” Continue reading

War crime tribunal weighs up next move as Karadzic refuses to appear

Published Date: 01 November 2009

By Nicholas Christian

RADOVAN Karadzic will be told this week whether or not his war crimes trial will proceed without him.

The former Bosnian Serb leader looks set to continue refusing to attend proceedings of the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague tomorrow.

That will force Judge O-Gon Kwon to schedule a special session on Tuesday to make

up his mind on whether to press ahead with prosecution in the absence of the lone accused. Continue reading

TEDGlobal: The business of terrorism

Terrorism is extremely expensive, and economist and journalist Loretta Napoleoni found unexpected ways that it drives the world economy

Loretta Napoleoni at TEDGlobal 2009 Credit: TED / James Duncan Davidson

Like the fall of the Roman Empire, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Communism brought about surge in the shadow economy, what economist and journalist Loretta Napoleoni calls the rogue economics of terror and criminal networks. Continue reading