28 June 2011

Why Air War Will Fail

Aerial revolution booster

I've already touched on this, but I can be clearer. NATO's air war in Libya can not but fail. A bombing campaign is as likely to deliver regime change as you are to fell a log with a handheld mixer.

The powers intervening in Libya are demanding Gaddafi's regime dismantle itself. This is a maximalist war aim. Aerial bombardments, as well as bombing campaigns conducted by clandestine terrorists, have succeeded before in extracting limited concessions from a government, but a bombing campaign forcing a capitulation of a regime is unheard of.

Western powers obviously refused to learn the lesson, but their own 1999 adventure over Yugoslavia shows as much. The terms under which the hostilities were concluded was no capitulation of Milošević across the line. Yugoslavia's sovereignty over Kosovo was reaffirmed in the UN, the demand for NATO access to the whole of Yugoslavia was successfully resisted and (needles to say) the government in Belgrade remained in control over the rest of Yugoslav territory.

Not only are the war aims in Libya greater than the demands placed on Belgrade in 1999, but they are public knowledge. In the Kosovo War the western powers kept Annex B to the Rambouillet proposal under wraps and could therefore drop it without this appearing as a defeat for them. This time they can not abandon their openly stated goal of forcing out the regime of Muammar Gaddafi without sacrificing prestige.

Additionally, what success NATO had in 1999 stemmed from the fact it threatened to pulverize the civilian economy of Serbia. The conflict was framed in terms of NATO rushing to save Albanians from the Serbs, destruction wrought upon Serbia therefore did not count for much. Today NATO is allegedly bombing Libya in order to save Libyans from Gaddafi. It is a story ill equipt to survive NATO openly holding hostage the civilian infrastructure of Libya against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

The intervening powers may yet have their way, but it will not be because of the air war. This aspect of intervention represents a complete mismatch of means and aims and will suffer a defeat. Arrogance on display in western capitals that sees them refuse drawing lessons from their military interventions means we are unfortunately assured more aggressive wars, but also the satisfaction of seeing the wars go badly for the aggressor.

25 June 2011

Nazi Economics

An old piece from Reason
debunking the commonly held myth of Hitler's 1930s economic miracle. In reality Germany under Nazi stewardship was in a bad shape, particularly its agricultural sector. By late 1935 the country was thought to be experiencing a 'provisions crisis' and Nazi officialdom agonized over a decision whether to import raw materials for the rearmament or food.

It is interesting to think how the lebensraum theory was boosted by the failed economic policies of the Nazis. The idea Germany was overpopulated and needed to colonize new ground in the east was made even more attractive once regulation retarded the agriculture and made it produce even less than it otherwise would.

24 June 2011


Nebojša Malić at antiwar.com highlights
an interesting documentary pointing out the presence of professional color revolutionaries in epicenters of Arab Spring, which indicates a level of American involvement in some of the uprisings. A great deal of the documentary is based on interviews with some of these revolution consultants. They have an incentive to exaggerate their importance for the uprisings, so the extent they are responsible for events that took place is not necessarily as great as they would like us to believe. It is clear, however, they did have a presence and must have influenced events to some extent, whether great or small.   

This is not a proof the revolts were a welcome thing as far as the American Empire is concerned. There is far too much evidence that US support for Arab dictators was sincere. My guess would be that the US, like expansive states are want to do, simultaneously conducted two contradictory policies. Eg that it on one hand sincerely backed Mubarak, but on the other trained activist opposition against him through programs like the National Endowment for Democracy. This sounds like clever hedging of bets, but could just as easily be the result of the mess in its large state apparatus.

23 June 2011

Cruise Missile Diplomacy

In an effort to liven up the lately slow going on here I am going to start pointing out articles of interest when I run into them as many blogs do.

An informative piece at counterpunch.org from Franklin C. Spinney. It places the air strikes on Libya in the context of strikes since Operation Deliberate Force over Bosnia and Herzegovina that are an outgrowth of the mindset common with foreign policy bureaucrats that combines the theories of coercive diplomacy and precision strikes. It is traced to the work done by William Perry who went on to become Clinton's Secretary of Defense.

Moreover the recipe is shown to be based on much self-delusion. It was superflous and inconsequential in Bosnia in '95 and failed against Yugoslavia in '99. What should had been a few days of precision bombing was escalated into a war on the whole economy of one country something that exceeds the parametres of precision guided coercive diplomacy.