Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Pre-emptive nuclear strike a key option, Nato told | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
The authors - General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff and Nato's ex-supreme commander in Europe, General Klaus Naumann, Germany's former top soldier and ex-chairman of Nato's military committee, General Henk van den Breemen, a former Dutch chief of staff, Admiral Jacques Lanxade, a former French chief of staff, and Lord Inge, field marshal and ex-chief of the general staff and the defence staff in the UK - paint an alarming picture.........

The key threats are:

· Political fanaticism and religious fundamentalism.            

What about military fundamentalism?

Will there be an European politician to tell the military it's not their business to set out policies?

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)

by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 at 08:57:05 AM EST
Great discussion, guys, but there is a gigantic hole in it, and Elco B has touched on it.


MfM, you sound like me thirty years ago.

Sorry if that sounds patronizing, but there it is.
Your entire analysis could have come from a neocon geostrategic briefing paper. You make their most passionately held point--we need the Empire to manage the unruly nations, and the choice is ours or "theirs"--"them" being anyone else who might assert power.

The Generals speak the language of "military" think, in which the basic assumption is that diplomacy is powerless. Perhaps this blindness is caused by the fact that by the time the military option is exercised, the diplomatic one HAS failed. But, in general, (!!) there are few groups with less useful, more dangerous qualifications to make policy than the generals. Read my diary in which I remember Dr. Hansen, who wanted to nuke Red China as a humanitarian obligation.


His logic was a lot like the logic that emerges above, and he was wrong. Had diplomacy failed, (or been absent from the discussion) he might have been proven right.

That said, you may well be right this time--and for the same reason. This sort of blindness creates a situation in which the game played becomes a very special type of game- a negative sum game in which if one player initiates the game, all must play. Think arms race.

This whole discussion deletes that most central human ability-to talk it over and find compromise, common ground, or at least a non-fatal strategy. The US today?

John Bolton:
"I don't do carrots."

More than once I have pointed out that because of this, and the loss of the Empire's other sources of power, the US is in danger of breaking the nuclear taboo.

As a grad student, I found myself traveling ever deeper into the land of the expert, which predisposes "expert think". When I discovered that I was becoming an expert, and therefore losing a broader picture, my education began a different path. I'm grateful for that discovery.
Good (or at least functional) policy is the province of generalists. Policy makers employ experts, and hopefully know when to gently put them back in their box. With luck, someone will be smart enough to put these guys away.

Eisenhower was the exception in the world of the military- he held onto the broader view. I don't know how, but it's a good thing.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 at 02:22:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leaders must become generalists:  have a big view!  Each in its proper place.  Superb specialists who are myopic do not even deserve to be advisors.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 at 06:29:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or one needs to be able to sort their advice without mercy.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Jan 25th, 2008 at 06:20:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]