There are few publications that utilize the foreign policy of the US as one of its contingent points, and fewer still that encapsulate decades of US views to its goals. One of those is The Management of Savagery by Abu Bakr Naji, Translated by William McCants at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. This is one of the few strategic doctrine articles we have from al Qaeda and I have reviewed it in quick and deeper reviews, and find it nearly impossible to drudge through the fantastical viewpoints given within it. Part of the problem for the western analyst is in the fact that it is based on a fantasy ideology expecting that the supernatural will intervene if believers just do certain things. That is following the analysis by Lee Harris of al Qaeda's fantasy ideology, but it is extensible to other organizations using different forms of fantastical basis for doctrine no matter what their form. Yet the basis for those actions is rooted in actual real-world events, so that the fantastical can be used to explain them. When it comes to US foreign policy of the 1980's to 1990's, The Management of Savagery follows on Osama bin Laden's 'weak horse' concept of picking up supporters: they will know a weak horse when they see it and follow the strong horse. While events in Iraq have gone decidedly against the views of the US being a 'weak horse', Afghanistan has proven more problematical as al Qaeda and its Talibani allies have had safe refuge in parts of Pakistan, and other surrounding States. Initial support from 'enemy regimes' by al Qaeda in Iraq proved to be insufficient to keeping a long-term insurgency going when civil society turned against it. In Afghanistan the Pashtun regions stretching across Pakistan and into Afghanistan are less well defined and more porous to ethnic ties and money, plus the Afghani native Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's long lasting criminal/terrorist organization that stretches from western China all the way to London.
US Cold War Foreign Policy and Military Policy
The United States, in a 'weak horse' position is in no position to help this out. Currently the situation in Afghanistan is slowly shifting the balance of viewpoint from the US as 'strong horse' to that as 'weak horse' and threats against Pakistan (or any ethnic sub-group) beyond fully known and designated groups does not help. A shift in position to remove these organizations without destroying their backing ethnic groups is a major requirement as genocide is a result of not discriminating between those pushing for private war and those caught unable to resist it. The United States, for all its puissance of arms by its National level forces, is not in a position to exploit the powers of its legitimate non-State forces as given to Congress. There has been a general abhorrence by the political Left and Right to doing this as it shifts the US from late 19th/early 20th century Nation State concepts and late 20th century concepts of Nation States in Global concerns to ones of late 18th century and early 19th century ones.
And yet that is a valid part of the solution space as that space must recognize the cultural utilization of non-National armed forces. This concept has the modern term of 'asymmetrical warfare' applied to it, and is generally held to be one of non-State actors that are illegitimate against legitimate National armed forces. That coin has an obverse side, however, in which legitimized sub-State forces can be used against non-legitimized non-State forces: that is a direct Constitutional power backed by the Law of Nations and by the views of warfare to address National grievances against such actors by the utilization of the Letters of Marque and Reprisal in the 1:1 rule - for each dollar of damage incurred, the Nation can legitimately incur $1 of damage to the non-legitimate forces. As non-legitimate forces tend to be smaller in funding base than Nation States, this spells an asymmetrical application of force as those forces that are private and legitimized will have a stronger economic backing than those that do not seek National means of legitimization.
That potent tool to bring non-National and non-Legitimate forces to heel or end them has been one that has gained the dark cloud of past utilizations of it going awry. Yet, for all the advances of the modern State, the modern practitioners do not seem willing to utilize the exact, same technical and legal methodologies on such forces. Politically this is an untenable solution to a political system that is entrenched in post-World War, post-Cold War and Transnationalist/Globalist encroachment. Yet it is that exact, same set of politics that causes the US to weaken its stances on liberty and freedom and to run from difficult fights that yield no immediate positive economically or politically, and yet serve as a representation of the ideals of personal liberty and freedom the Nation was founded on.
By the mid-20th century (post-WWII) US Foreign Policy was set to a Cold War system in which stasis was the best achievable goal for the long haul. So long as the 'balance of power' was kept stable, there was no long term threat to Western society. Yet long-term threats that were non-Soviet in origin did appear in the form of radical Islamic views and continued ethnic problems in many parts of the world. Additionally the political atmosphere at home shifted from the survival and retribution concepts for military analysis that was predominant in WWII to ones of insular stagnation and unwillingness to confront despotism and tyranny. That was across the political spectrum and created a dichotomy of inaction: if the political Left wanted intervention into poor countries with no National interest to the US, the Right would not support such; and if the Right wanted to confront the USSR on even minor stands, the Left was loathe to expend any funds or lives in helping others to retain liberty and freedom.
The return to military recruitment normalcy via ending the draft was a major shift in military stance by the US, as it was the traditional route of the Nation to have an all-volunteer military. This would actually free up the economy (so as to end the 'guns vs butter' debate) and that shift taking place before the end of the Cold War caused a major shock, globally, as the US did not need to expend anywhere the level of commitment the USSR was expending as a percentage of GDP to meet the Soviet threat. The US had outgrown its opponent, although nuclear annihilation was still possible, economic collapse in accord to Leninist doctrine was impossible. Within 20 years of ending the draft and re-scaling the armed forces, the Soviet Union collapsed as it could no longer keep so much economic output going to military affairs and overlook its population. The threat that grew up during the latter part of this era (approx. 1963 to present) was that of non-State military actors utilizing terrorist tactics to political goals. These non-State actors faced an increasingly insular United States and an increasingly stagnant and crumbling Soviet Union that could still be vicious but could actually overextend itself to no good.
US Foreign Policy and Military Policy both refused to address non-State actors in any meaningful way and actually would recoil from them multiple times, thus empowering the 'weak horse' concept of the US. With unstopped successful attacks, these non-State actors grew in size and viciousness in the post-Cold War era to an extent that could not be conceived in the Cold War.
Al Qaeda and the milieu of Central Asia
If Pakistan is the last refuge of al Qaeda (although parts of Somalia and Kenya, along with the Tri-Border Area of South America may prove this to be a limited analysis), then it is a refuge already dominated by local players far stronger than al Qaeda is locally: the Mehsud brothers, Hekmatyar's huge organization and even the Baluchs of the south all have demonstrated capacity that far exceeds that of either al Qaeda or the Taliban. Combined Hekmatyar's organization and that of the ethnically different Baluchs are individually as strong, although only Hekmatyar's has greater reach, scope and longevity with the Baluchs more geographically isolated for scope and reach, but arguably far longer in terms of existing (the stand-up of Pakistan) than Hekmatyar's (and his rise under General Zia). It is that milieu that allows al Qaeda to survive, not expand, when its attempt to expand in Iraq was crushed. Iraq was a strategic level defeat for al Qaeda and a huge global set-back, but its grounding is not in any one area of victory, but to exist to support all of them and outlast its opposition. That was the 1990's statement my bin Laden and The Management of Savagery fleshes this out by examining the USSR and USA (p.23 of the pdf file, bolding is mine):
Some others among the people of truthfulness and jihad used to set forth what God had showed them and the notion was established in their minds that the enemy was weak and insignificant – if God decreed something, it could be done. This group says to the remainder of the people of religion and the masses: “O people! The viciousness of the Russian soldier is double that of the American (soldier). If the number of Americans killed is one tenth of the number of Russians killed in Afghanistan and Chechnya, they will flee, heedless of all else. That is because the current structure of the American and Western military is not the same as the structure of their military in the era of colonialism. They reached a stage of effeminacy which made them unable to sustain battles for a long period of time and they compensate for this with a deceptive media halo. O people! The center in the Soviet Union was, to a certain extent, close to the countries in which there was opposition to it. They even shared borders with areas that opposed it, so supplies, motorized units, and armored vehicles used to pour in with ease and without much cost. The matter is different with regard to America—the remoteness of the primary center from the peripheries should help the Americans understand the difficulty of our continued submission to them, their control over us, and their pillaging of our resources if we decide to refuse; but only if we refuse and enflame opposition to its materialization.”
It is clear for that understanding by al Qaeda if God decrees an end to America, and giving America small but persistent death toll, that America would withdraw from the Middle East, Central Asia and, indeed, agree not to otherwise stand against those that will refuse to ever stop killing Americans.
Here the lines of the modern Leftist doctrine of the US being an 'imperial power' and the al Qaeda doctrinal examination of what happens when the Left is able to sway foreign policy outcomes (and this is a bi-partisan outcome, not limited to a single political party but a Leftist outcome of foreign policy in total across multiple administrations). The US is not only weakened but perceived as weak. If Iraq is a showcase that America can and indeed will counter that via reinforcing local culture that is Nation State oriented, then the work in Afghanistan becomes a more difficult situation as the strength of Nation State doctrine has been weak there since before the first Empires attempted to dominate that region.
This is telling in that the ages old anti-imperial strains of the native populations in Central Asia now are unwilling to accede to multi-ethnic Nation States as those are seen as contrary to the ethnic divisions necessary to survive multiple Empires (arguably from the earliest Persian to the Soviet Union). US foreign policy has not, does not and will not come to terms with this until a President actually addresses it and creates a foreign policy that understands these basic problems of ethnicity and Nation States. If the opposition to the ideology of Nation States as multi-ethnic (20th century oriented) concepts is one that is seen as Imperialist and foreign to the local ethnicities still fighting their formation, as part of a tradition going back thousands of years, then those trying to utilize Transnational Progressivism and Transnational Capitalist (or Globalist) views which both try to utilize local ethnic differences to desired social and economic ends are BOTH treated likewise: external attempts to utilize internal differences are ALL seen as Imperialist to such native ethnic groups.
If the 19th to 20th century Nation State and 19th to 21st century socialist to Transnationalist doctrines are ALL seen as external and Imperialist, what the hell is left to try, you may wonder. If every modern conception of the Nation State and Transnational/Globalist views are seen as exterior and Imperial, then NO current formulation of foreign policy, National policy nor military policy can or will work there. Central asia makes the Balkans look like child's play, and yet Western doctrine (Nationalist, Socialist, Communist and Transnationalist/Globalist) have, each and every one of them, fallen flat on their face there.
They are, all of them, 'weak horse' concepts as al Qaeda sees it.
The Ideology of Modern States and Analysis
That is a sobering conclusion to look at based on the factual analysis done by al Qaeda (no matter how fantastical its world view is) and an examination (even cursory such as this one is) of all the Empires that have dried up and gone away while the ethnic rivalries have continued on in various guises under various religions for thousands of years in the region. You cannot 'surge' unless you have a sound doctrinal basis for COIN (Counter-Insurgency) that is based on a conceptualization that actually accepts the basic cultural problems and finds a coherent and workable solution to them. More importantly, if the ethnic group and religious backing is one that looks towards fantastical ends, the ability to actually bring such groups and organizations to an end is highly limited: the ideology is one of not stopping as the simple acts can be done by very few people. What is COIN if the society, itself, accepts continual insurgency as a working phenomena that is part of society?
Here the DIME vector analysis of the modern military falls apart along the lines I previously examined, as the sub-units (Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic) are descriptive vectors and amenable to multi-level uses and counter-use. These are vectors within society and culture, but oriented towards a mid-to-late 20th century view of Nation States: pluralistic, democratic, western liberal. The use of these at the macro scale is an demonstration of power along those vectors on Nation States, but when applied to non-State actors and ethnic groups and a weak Nation State, they become very problematic. Additionally, using them to countervail an insurgent/terrorist/ethnically backed non-State actor group is then seen as exterior or Imperialistic, and not a 'home grown' happening. I will pull out this passage I put down in the previous article:
DIME has a problem in that it serves equally well to set up the structures to collapse society as it does to uphold it. DIME is known as a set of 'vectors': pathways of major parts of society and systems that need to move in coordinated fashion to achieve ends. They are a set of 'means' not 'ends'. And, as such, can be used in any number of paradigms for how to have society, how to govern and, apparently, how *not* to do those things. As a method of COIN we must recognize that the opponents of Counter Insurgency, namely Insurgency, utilizes these exact same vectors in opposition to orderly society. That is because these vectors are neutral to ideology and only means to an end, not ends in and of themselves. If we treat DIME in isolation to the underpinnings of society, then we shall soon have no society in common as it fractures under the multiple forces of transnationalism which seek to gain by that destruction. To counter that the actual goals of what DIME is utilized for must be clearly and succinctly stated and all activities traced directly back to those goals. DIME utilized without such goals then can be utilized in opposition and that opposition will tear up any society upholding group that does not put forward the goals first. In the military parlance this is known as the 'Grand Strategy'. It is more than just 'victory' but the reasons why victory is worthwhile and the goals of that victory BEYOND mere victory. If these are not clearly upheld at entry into a conflict, then there is no way to trace any lesser level strategy or tactics (the implementation tools and locales for strategy) back to the larger goal. In the realm of business this is the Corporate Business Plan or Outlook document, to sort out the major goals to be achieved by said business, and hiring folks to work in a business unit is mere tactics. In this realm of thought, DIME is a way of implementing Grand Strategy and NOT Grand Strategy in, and of, itself.
This is a crucial understanding of DIME, that relates to the fact that Grand Strategy is implemented via DIME and, indeed, a whole suite of vectors beyond DIME. As a means of short-hand it is limited, and only useful in limited circumstances where there is a pre-existing coherent Grand Strategy and then implemented via a series of vectors of which DIME is a sub-set. Unfortunately many authors have come to accept DIME as a strategy, not a means to implement strategy, and have missed the fact that without a coherent foreign and military policy to back it, DIME is a set of stateless vectors that can be utilized by anyone. These policies are meant to give direction in which these vectors are to be organized, but utilizing them is a two-way street: the enemy gets a say, too.
Al Qaeda and Modern State Ideology Intersections
The Management of Savagery is part Grand Strategy, part Grand Tactics and fully fantastical in examining how expansive outcomes can come from limited means. With that said it was drafted and created by an organization that was based in Afghanistan and had strong links to the Pashtun support network and the larger terror and criminal support networks of central asia and it reflects those understandings. The aim of the doctrine is clearly spelled out in pp.24-25:
A – The first goal: Destroy a large part of the respect for America and spread confidence in the souls of Muslims by means of:
(1) Reveal the deceptive media to be a power without force.
(2) Force America to abandon its war against Islam by proxy and force it to attack directly so that the noble ones among the masses and a few of the noble ones among the armies of apostasy will see that their fear of deposing the regimes because America is their protector is misplaced and that when they depose the regimes, they are capable of opposing America if it interferes.
B – The second goal: Replace the human casualties sustained by the renewal movement during the past thirty years by means of the human aid that will probably come for two reasons:
(1) Being dazzled by the operations which will be undertaken in opposition to America.
(2) Anger over the obvious, direct American interference in the Islamic world, such that that anger compounds the previous anger against America's support for the Zionist entity. It also transforms the suppressed anger toward the regimes of apostasy and tyranny into a positive anger. Human aid for the renewal movement will not dry up, especially when heedless people among the masses – and they are the majority – discover the truth of the collaboration of these regimes with the enemies of the Umma to such an extent that no deceptive veil will be of use and no pretext will remain for any claimant to the Islam of these regimes and their like.
(C) – The third goal: Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly. As a result, the apostates among all of the sects and groups and even Americans themselves will see that the remoteness of the primary center from the peripheries is a major factor contributing to the possible outbreak of chaos and savagery.
The first goal is coincident with that of the Transnationalists/Globalists: destroy respect for America. The Transnational reasoning is as clear as that of al Qaeda. Transnationalism is described by John Fonte in three good works: The Ideological War within the West, Liberal Democracy vs Transnational Progressivism, and Transnationalist Left and Transnationalist Right. Transnationalism is an emergent dogma that is a fusion of various leftist and radical movements starting with the Progressive movement in America and drawing its ideological bases from Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Democratic Socialism and Radicalism. It is an anti-National distillation held by multiple organizations on how to remodel society from the view of an elite superstructure. While those on the Transnational Left seek to do this for societal reasons, those on the Transnational Right seek to do that for economic reasons, and yet both utilize the same distillation of concepts, but with different emphasis. Mr. Fonte describes the over-riding ideology, and thus a form of Grand Strategy, as follows:
Groups are what matter, not people. You are "Black" or "Christian" or "Mexican" or "Afghan" or "Sunni", you are not yourself. You also don't get to choose your group; it's inherent in what you were when you were born. Someone else will categorize you into your group, and you will become a number, a body to count to decide how important that group is. And your group won't change during your lifetime.
The goal of fairness is equality of result, not equality of opportunity. It isn't important to let individuals fulfill their potential and express their dreams, what's important is to make groups have power and representation in all things proportional to their numbers in the population. Fairness is for groups, not for individuals. The ideally fair system is based on quotas, not on merit, because that permits proper precise allocation of results.
Being a victim is politically significant. It's not merely a plea for help or something to be pitied; it's actually a status that grants extra political power. "Victimhood" isn't a cult, it's a valid political evaluation. Groups which are victims should be granted disproportionately more influence and representation, at the expense of the historic "dominant" culture.
Assimilation is evil. Immigrants must remain what they were before they arrived here, and should be treated that way. Our system must adapt to them, rather than expecting them to adapt to us (even if they want to). The migration of people across national borders is a way to ultimately erase the significance of those borders by diluting national identity in the destination country.
An ideal democracy is a coalition where political power is allocated among groups in proportion to their numbers. It has nothing to do with voting or with individual citizens expressing opinions, and in fact it doesn't require elections at all. A "winner take all" system, or one ruled by a majority, is profoundly repugnant because it disenfranchise minority groups of all kinds and deprives them of their proper share of power.
National identity is evil. We should try to think of ourselves as citizens of the world, not as citizens of the nations in which we live, and we should try to minimize the effects of national interests, especially our own if we live in powerful nations.
The al Qaeda vector goal of destroying respect for America plays into the Transnationalist vectors via group identification (Muslim vs. Non-Muslim), seeking 'fairness' (in which the demands of an 'oppressed group' trumps that of a Nation State), painting themselves as a 'victim', not only countering Nation State assimilation ideas but actively working towards separatist concepts, acting like a group that is 'disenfranchised' above and beyond being a 'victim', and espousing that religious identity trumps National identity. Each of these themes play into the theme of destroying America.
What is interesting is that the second goal, of a renewal movement, is one to create a new elite structure for ruling that would be seen as the enemy of the cultural elite or economic elite in the Transnational Left and Right areas, respectively. For all the oddities of the fantastical ideology of al Qaeda, they have taken a direct set of ideals from the Transnationalist perspective to create their own Transnationalist dogma that is backed by Terrorism.
Unexpectedly, to al Qaeda, is that in getting their third goal, they have damaged the first two very seriously as America actually has shown up to fight in Iraq, and very well, though perhaps not so well in Afghanistan. This dogma was designed in the central asian environment and meant to play well in the general weak tribal environment of the Middle East and Africa. There is one Nation in the Middle East that has very strong tribal affiliations, however, and has demonstrated resiliency against genocidal dictators: Iraq.
As a strategic blunder, and this is in the Grand Strategy sense, al Qaeda has gambled and lost almost all of its three goals by investing so heavily in Iraq and not having it shift under to a normal State for the region. This is due to the intense Nationalism that is felt North to South and East to West in Iraq: the New Iraqi Army was the first to clearly demonstrate this, but the gradual and strong return of civil society is now doubling and even trebling the error by al Qaeda. Today Iraq arrests members of any group intent on harming the Nation, if they can find them, and the Tribes of Iraq, save for some holdouts, have turned against al Qaeda on the Sunni side and many of the Shia tribes want no affiliation with Iran.
Grand Strategic Failures of the Modern State
Grand Strategy actually requires that expected outcomes happen when you take activities, and al Qaeda has a non-intersection of outcomes to actions. Where a Western ideology would implode due to this, al Qaeda's does not as it is not a rational nor logic based ideology: it is a long-term conflict based on no surrender, no compromise and never giving up. That is a fatalistic fantastic ideology and is the equivalent of a Death Cult. As a rule, Death Cults only end once all their members have died or the entire organization so discredited that it cannot recover. Aum Shinrikyo still exists, but is no longer the same organization it was, although there are still some deep followers of its ideology before its breakdown. The Thugee following, a related type of cult of murder, was broken up due to its practices and heavily infiltrated until it could be, essentially, wiped out as a secret society. These both point to a very active movement to rid society of these cults, and requires far more than just DIME exercising COIN.
At this point the negative conclusions draw a positive space of possibilities that are left.
- Transnationalism not only does not work against terrorism, it incites it and enables it as an anti-Nation State based concept. It must be noted that not only is Transnational Terrorism of the al Qaeda or Islamic form one that utilizes the methodology of Western anti-Nationalists, it is also anti-Western and, therefore, inimical to the practitioners of Transnationalist Left and Right, in that it places those elites in a non-ruling, non-elite status, replaced by an Islamic selected elite class. While all three operate in coincidence of method, they all differ on final status, which not only pits the two Western views against each other but also pits both of those against the Terrorist form. Temporary coincidence of methodology does not point to coincidence of outcome.
- Late 19th to 20th century Nationalism or Nation State doctrines have failed - This is apparent by the lack of coherence of the ethnic groups amongst the Nations that have formed: Pakistan, Afghanistan,Iran and the entire suite of ex-Soviet Central Asian Republics. Pakistan by backing a number of these groups via its ISI (Hekmatyar, Meshud, Taliban, as examples) is a culprit in creating its own internal problems once these groups found stiff resistance in their target areas (Kasmir, Aghanistan, Iran) and started working with some of the criminal enterprises that arose after the fall of the USSR (notably Semion Mogilevich's trade group but also such individuals as the arms smuggler Viktor Bout). The Pashtun people had an edict imposed on them during the British Empire to wait along 'temporary' borders while everyone figured out what was what, and that was going to last 100 years. The 100 years ran out a few decades ago. That, together with the Baluchs, who feel they got cheated out of significant internal sovereignty, plus other ethnic and religious groups and personal armies (or Lashkars) have made the modern Nation State a near impossibility to keep together. The list of governments, assassinations, terror organizations, bombings, and personal armies running around since the stand-up of Pakistan, alone, indicates a failure of a coherent modern State system.
- Communism and Socialism have not addressed these problems - Both have been tried since the stand-up of Pakistan, neither has addressed the problem. Nor has capitalism, although it is a thriving concept amongst the tribes. Lawless areas continued to remain lawless no matter what the ideology of the government.
- Afghanistan has thrown off all exterior repression and now works hard to keep interior types in check - That is semi-workable, but so long as it has strong ethnic ties to a lawless region of Pakistan that allows private armies there will be no end of trouble. A larger war or expanded war will NOT cure this problem and only expand the conflict if internal governments collapse in any Nation having some ethnic contact with those involved in the conflict. Afghanistan can only be considered to have meta-stability, or being stable until a vector of events turns it unstable, and those would be ethnic or tribal level, not necessarily Nation State level.
- Appeasement does not work - The lawless areas fully intend to remain so and use 'cease-fires' as times to upgrade their capabilities (in negation of the cease-fire as the term is understood in military parlance). Thus offers for such are disingenuous. And, as non-State actors are involved, they cannot have any treaty power externally or internally, as anyone who disagreed would feel free to continue on as they were doing and ignore such treaties.
That is a highly sobering assessment as it invalidates all modern thinking on Nation States, Transnationalism and Globalism. That is not something that the current political set up of the Western Nation State system is ready to adjust to and has failed at as that is the source of the problem. What is necessary is to then see what the hallmarks of the solution space contain.
One Possible Solution Space
If the modern conceptions of Nation State and Transnationalism fail, then their failure creates the possible areas that are within a successful bounds for not only Pakistan but Central Asia as a whole. The negatives are ones that must be known, otherwise a reliance with concepts and references to these modern types and incorporation of them will not come a solution that is viable. This requires that thinking in modernistic terms of economy, society and warfare must all be scaled back to more basic and essential types for each category and then advanced slowly until the non-concordance with existing societies and types happens. Solution space analysis begins with delimited areas and then scales to the minimum necessary to meet localized needs and still accord a higher level structure that has the least intrusion on those needs. Thus the modern, centralized political systems of the West are not useful analogs for the solution space, as they engender too much centralized power that is in non-accordance with decentralized society.
While many of these solution types are pre-existing and known, their implementation in a post-industrial world is not out of accord with the general pre-industrial environment of society, culture and ethnicity seen in Central Asia. Modern communications and other systems can help these systems along, but they are not central to the operations of the systems in the solution space.
First, the solution space has within it the pre-modern, pre-19th century conception of the Nation State. This is not a prerequisite, by any means, but it offers a number of things that the late-19th and 20th century lacks:
- Pluralism - Instead of multi-ethnic approaches of the modern type, the pre-modern ones of pluralism based on ethnic identity but holding to common necessities for basic societal structure and governance offers flexibility and adaptability without the need for lock-step conformity as seen in modern multi-ethnic societies. Modern multi-ethnic concepts have shied away from such concepts as Federalism or Confederalism and concentrate on a centralized State apparatus. As it is the centralized State concept that has repeatedly failed in the region, the more loosely held but still constrained Federal or Confederal conception of Nation State remains one area that no one has tried: the internal self-checking, self-balancing arrangement between unequal groups with equality of checks so that no major group dominates and puts the rights of smaller groups at risk.
- Westphalianism - This is the generalized concept of the Nation State that can have a religious basis, but has internal agreement that this cannot be used to press a religious doctrine downwards from the State level. An Islamic State that agreed to an internal Westphalian system of governance would have a generalized Islamic outlook, but only for those things held in absolute common across all sects within the State and then could impress none of those, save for minor things like holidays, upon any sect. The West has generalized that to all religions, but a more restricted concept of 'known religions in society' was the prevailing ones before late 18th century Nation State doctrine came into being.
- Internal trade regularization - In either the Federal or Confederal systems in a Pluralistic arrangement, autonomous or semi-autonomous sub-National States or Provinces agree to common rules for general trade and practices internally and to have external trade practices regulated by a common agreement government. This does require normalization of National boundaries, but that can be done via understood treaty arrangements to take into account Pluralistic needs for travel (kinship relationships, religious practices, etc.). Practices outside the purview of the Nation State and reserved for Individuals and sub-National States or Provinces then allow for specificity of trade agreements for those groups that are amenable to the larger Pluralistic system without endorsing favoritism.
- Codification of private armies - This is something that is not well understood, but serves as a basis for the Nation State control of armed forces. Private Armies would need to operate under National regulations and guidelines and hold themselves accountable to that structure. This does not mean a National Army, per se, but having identified command and control structures run by individuals or groups and adhering to the larger National agreements amongst various groups. The concept of this is a 'well regulated militia' in which service in these private groups comes under National oversight while not endangering the ability of private organizations at the local level to self-organize. Indeed, they become National level tools via such regularized concepts of the Letters of Marque and Reprisal if the Nation decides to have no standing armed forces. A larger agreement to come to the aid of any sub-member who is attacked by an outside force is a general requirement here, as well as serving as an adjunct to a National standing force if such is created. Trust in such a government is paramount for having such forces and regularizing them, and such governments know that they are held accountable for their actions and that civil, political means are preferable to military means.
- Nation State supported armed forces - These forces are seen as the common defense of all sub-groups and sub-States or Provinces within such an arrangement. Here some check and balance agreement between the sub-units of society is necessary, and one that puts such armed forces as permissible when larger than the largest of the sub-state groups Militia but no larger than the largest three, say, is workable. That gives the State a necessary leeway to create a competent military system for regularized defense of the Nation and yet is held in harsh check by the three largest sub-unit Militias due to size. A practical note is that the sub-units may realize that weakening their sizes also draws down the maximum size of the National forces and some minimal size of the National force may be set by common agreement. Here 'size' may be in manpower, funding or both combined.
Combined these bear the hallmarks of the restricted space as delimited by the negatives: each part of this sort of solution is within the positive space while not incorporating the negative space. Such an outlook places cultural and ethnic affinity as a high priority for a Nation and yet recognizes that common understanding across all sub-States or Provinces is a requirement for the good of all. What such a thing would do in Pakistan is cause a major re-negotiation of the basis for the State, itself and a buy-in by all the major ethnic and religious regions and perhaps some re-drawing of internal boundaries. An attempt to redress the grievances of Baluchs and Pashtuns, in particular, is a requirement of such a solution and yet no final outcomes can be dictated by an external Nation or set of Nations, even though some grievances will require external redress (Baluchs with Iran, Kasmir settlement and Pashtuns with Afghanistan amongst many). The original basis for Pakistan left the major sub-populations of Pashtuns and Baluchs feeling slighted to the point of becoming international threats, and no modern conformation of the Pakistani State has brought these regions into alignment with it.
Modern US governmental changes via politics
This brings this analysis to the modern two party system and trenchant ideologies of the United States. The post-Cold War stasis in which one party held majorities in the House and Senate for 40 years started to dissolve in the 1980's and by the 1990's the Cold War stasis had left a group of individuals unready for the modern world, unwilling to address it and unable to conceive of how to deal with it absent a global threat. These individuals had so infiltrated the political system with their adherents that the system, itself, was regulated to one in which only two parties get any chance to compete in a meaningful way at all scales of National debate. The expansive concentration of power that started with President Theodore Roosevelt had continued unabated no matter which party was in office or governmental control: both had sought to use new powers taken without any other recourse to their own ideological ends. The same political class that put a static system of Foreign Policy and Military Policy in place still have no other antidote to the problems it has caused and even refuse to recognize the two party causation of these problems.
The Republican Party has been notable in that it started off the entire Progressive cycle of government with the Administration of Theodore Roosevelt. Until that point in time the Progressives aligned with the Populists to push general long-term themes to 'modernize government' via Constitutional amendments. President Theodore Roosevelt would abet this from the Executive Branch by shifting to accede to the wishes of a religious majority that sought an end to the opium trade in China. The accords reached in Shanghai would require those governments that signed on to it to end the opium trade in their countries. As a signatory the US would have to break with Constitutional limitation on the federal government and seek the first ever restriction on personal use of medicines. Prior to that the use of such things as laudanum, cocaine and heroin were required under the food and drug purity act which would establish that contents of foods and medications needed to be listed. That, alone, started to curb rampant drug use. Those who sought moral backing via an overseas treaty looked to enforce a 'good' by statute to enforce a treaty, thus criminalizing the unregulated use of medications for the first time, ever, in federal history. Although that legislation would be put in during another Administration, it was President Theodore Roosevelt's that sought to expand the latitude of federal power beyond its traditional and understood boundaries.
Those powers accumulated to the Office of the Executive and to the federal government, and in a ten year period there would be a radical shift of the basis of US government away from classical liberty to that of Progressive government. The more Populist based Democratic Party would latch onto these powers and help to get the necessary Amendments passed to change that basis and then start to implement greater and deeper shifts of power distribution to the federal government throughout the rest of the 20th century. Holding the Congressional majority for 40 years helped to ensure that there would be no questioning of these changes and that no ending statutes for new government entities would ever be put in place. In the prior century government institutions that were not direct Constitutional charters often had re-upping limits on them, such as the First National Bank, so that future Congresses and Presidents would be able to review and change or abolish these new government organs. In 1832 the Democratic President Andrew Jackson ended the First National Bank and similar powers would not exist until the founding of the Federal Reserve by Democratic President Woodrow Wilson. In that span of 80 years the Democratic Party went from support of classical liberal values to ones of government invested power over the citizenry, which is perhaps the greatest turnaround for any political party ever witnessed in the United States.
During the 20th century, American politics would adjust to the end of Imperial courts and Europe and the United States passing multiple European Nations in industrial output and power, as well as inventiveness in many technical fields. The rise of mighty Nation States would also cause a general forgetfulness that warfare is not delimited to the Nation State, and that the Law of Nature that is given to all men allows for Private War. For those years in which Nations held the overwhelming sway of power, such things as piracy and rogue armies tended to be overlooked, although the Soviet Union would stage the first ever paratroop drop against a rogue army as late as 1929. The older Hague Conventions and pre-existing other conventions prior to the late 19th century Hague Conventions, understood Private War in the realm of Piracy and President Lincoln understood it to the point of authorizing the Army Field Manual-101 in 1863 that specified that acts the modern world would call 'terrorism' when seen by armies is to be treated summarily as Piracy or highway robbery. It was this basic understanding that both parties, and the world as a whole, would slowly forget as two world wars and a massive cold war embroiled the governments of the planet during the 20th century. With that forgetting would also go the means to counter them and the memory of why certain parts of the Constitution are set up as they are. If the Constitution becomes a 'living document' then the memory system of it is distorted via re-interpretation by actual, living people. At some point the basic structure is changed via 'reinterpretation' until the actual meanings and understandings of what Constitutions do for Nations is forgotten.
Foreign and Military Policy results
President Theodore Roosevelt is one of the first Presidents to call for an omnibus international body and also one of the first to repudiate the idea once he actually experienced how international bodies worked. This ideal would be picked up by the Democrats and Woodrow Wilson, and soon add 'modern' international institutions that had previously not existed. At that point this strain of Wilsonian Politics in America was one that would serve as the founding for Transnationalism. America, save for a few years under President McKinley and early on with President Theodore Roosevelt, would not practice 19th century foreign or military policy. While many point to this as a great 'good', being anti-imperialist in stance, the less understood problem with it is that it creates weak or unaccountable international institutions that are powerless without Nation State backing by a majority of powerful Nation States. Instead of being 'anti-imperialist' this is system that, in theory, empowers large nations (either economically or via population) to force things their way when it helps them and to ignore anything that is not in their interest.
No Nation has tied its Military Policy to either the League of Nations or the United Nations for this reason: the large powers utilize these institutions to suit their ends, and when a Nation does not do that, it is liable to suffer at the hands of tyrannical or despotic Nations that form the majority of small Nations on the planet. With Authoritarian, Totalitarian or Tyrannical large powers, and there need not be more than a simple moderate plurality in population or economic size, the ability of such bodies to bring about coherent action is negated. Even in areas of Foreign Policy, no Nation dares trying to utilize such means as the only way to act as it means restricting their Nation and no longer utilizing the wide leeway any Nation has on direct, one-to-one talks as with traditional treaties. Finally these large bodies become bureaucratic nightmares, being large institutions with no oversight, the ability of bad actors to find a home and be able to protect themselves from being dislodged by the use of diplomatic credentials is high. None dare give power to such a body as it is the definition of despotic to start with, and swayed by the hot feelings of small Nations that do not have large economies or populations.
From this the United States learned Isolationism, utilizing the maxims of President Washington and distrusting foreign alliances. Isolation did not start nor fuel the beginnings of the First or Second World Wars: the first was out of the capability of the US to influence and the second started in places like China and would then pick up years later in Europe. No one had the power or will to stop Imperial Japan in China, and by the time people began to worry about Italian ventures into Ethiopia, the European system of Nations was succumbing to National Socialism. No other Nation could reasonably expect to intervene militarily against Japan, Italy or Germany, and by the time any realized that they must do so, the world was at war.
International Socialism arising from the Communist regime in the Soviet Union would start the second basis for expanding Transnationalism and give Wilsonianism a Red make-over and then utilize the combination after the Second World War to start an anti-capitalist system of thought that would coalesce in the 1960's with US radicalism melded with European Socialism and other Radicals in Europe. By the 1970's Transnationalism would take on some of the trappings of Globalist Capitalism and the latter would take on some of the virulence against Nation State power of the Transnationalists. Because neither of these had any coherent foundation, they grew as a hodge-podge of general concepts that only coalesced around some basic points, yet by the late 1990's and early years of 2001-2003 those points would be able to be summarized by John Fonte as a coherent belief structure that covered almost all the radical/communist/socialist/globalist concepts that appear as many separate faces, but all are all different parts of the same working ideology.
Foreign Policy would shift to try and accommodate these changes and that would negatively influence US military policy in Vietnam. What started as a simple support for a mostly democratic State against International Communism would become the first conflict to utilize Transnational Progressivist themes against the United States. The military policy that started out as a simple enaction of the early Foreign Policy would be betrayed by the change in Foreign Policy and Domestic Policy that would squander all major positives of the COIN work that was done and actually lose the war for the United States. That shift would disenchant many with the armed forces, as it was intended to do, but leave the core Nation State policy backers in charge. The all-volunteer force would rebuild with a different ethos and understanding of how US policies shift in obtuse ways and attempt to prepare the armed forces for a similar happening a second time.
Foreign policy would further be twisted by Transnationalists and Globalists, to back the anti-American organizations of the UN and to try and back 'humanitarian' missions for US forces where the Nation had no legitimate reason to intervene. President Reagan would be the first to attempt this in Lebanon, and the death of the US Marines and their French Comrades on a mission of peace would ultimately see a non-response by the US that would begin the super-charging of non-State actors following the behest of Iran which had become a radical Islamic State during President Carter's term in office. The idea that was used was one that was bankrupt: Realism in Foreign Policy. What would be even worse is that over the decades of the post-World War II era, the education system of the United States would no longer teach the basics of military policy with regards to conflicts, until a general ignorance of what post-war situations actually look like when there are NO global conflicts involved would be the NORM for the United States.
Thus no policy was set up to counter non-State actors. Post-Imperialism was a major causative factor to the start of them, not a way of curbing them. Realism ignored them. Globalism used them as an extortionary threat, at best, and at worse paid no attention to them. Transnationalism so inculcated its concepts that they have been hijacked by terrorists to the point where terrorism now represents a methodology to create a separate elite from both the Transnational Progressivists and the Global Capitalists. And no post-Cold War doctrine ever arose to cover them in a methodological and definitional way. This is not limited to the Capitalist West but also to the Communist and Socialist regimes stretching throughout Europe and into the now defunct USSR.
The multi-variate 'Bush Doctrine' has undergone at least four major changes from its early isolationism prior to 9/11 to an anti-terrorist stance between 9/11 and the run-up to Iraq, then to a multilateral stance with regards to North Korea and finally to a traditional Globalist/Transnational Right concept seen during the term of President Bush (41). It stepped close to actually being able to define terrorism in the modern world, but lacked vision, clarity and understanding of what terrorism actually *is* to call it by name and deal with it.
The Clinton Foreign Policy, it cannot be called a 'Doctrine', was one of political opportunism trying to show a glad hand for the least expenditure of National political capital possible. It not only did not counter Transnational Terrorism, but it emboldened it via flaccid or non-responses to attacks in: Langley, VA; WTC bombing; attacks in Somalia funded by al Qaeda; Kenya and Tanzania Embassy bombings; minimal action against FARC as it sought to take over the Colombian drug trade that would result only in a longer term COIN concept near the end of the Administration; and no response to an attack by al Qaeda that by all definitions would be called 'piracy' at any other point in US history. Further, political capital was expended to no firm end in the Balkans (where the Kosovars love the US and the Serbs have come to detest the US), Haiti (with yet another President not doing anything substantial for the Nation following in the miserable experience of FDR there),and not doing a thing about genocide in Rwanda or Iraq. On the latter score it allowed hundreds of thousands that had been executed for daring to believe the US would keep its word if they tried to over throw Saddam Hussein that they would get support. Instead they got no support and seriously dead. Both of the parties and its candidates have extreme problems of setting up any coherent Foreign Policy as they all rely upon failed past policies that have never addressed the post-Cold War era in regards to Transnational Terrorism, International Organized Crime and the diminution of Nation State power to unauthorized, unaccountable international concerns.
The Democratic Party has no coherent Foreign Policy and a degenerative Military Policy to further weaken the armed forces and put multiple necessary upgrades on 'hold'. As was seen under other Democratic and Republican Congresses, the ability to maintain the Armed Forces is placed at a minimal stance without a 'hot conflict' going on. If Afghanistan goes 'hot' under an Obama Administration, it will mean the involvement of one of the three nuclear powers in the region (China, India, or Pakistan) and a 'crisis' to show 'strength' without having any clear idea of what end-state such an Administration is looking for. A withdrawal from Iraq before its major military infrastructure is in place (circa 2016) would leave critical and foundational gaps in that very successful conflict and squander a US victory there and put the risk of deep turmoil back into the Middle East. By stabilizing the geographic centroid of the Middle East, the entire region is undergoing a period of increasing quiescence as it tries to absorb just what kind of Nation Iraq is. As any external Nation faces danger in not figuring that out, first, only Iran is bold and blinkered enough to think that causing trouble there will help them. Iran, itself, is undergoing an oil production crisis due to not keeping up its infrastructure, and is now faced with external criminal pressure from the Red Mafia that controls a vital 5% of the natural gas that Iran uses. On understanding world events and terrorism, the Democratic Party as a whole only has Transnationalist and anti-US platitudes to hand out.
The Republican Party is shifting to a minimal Globalist concept to attempt to assuage those who feel the diminution of National Sovereignty due to previous Globalist trends put in place by the minimally Transnationalist Clinton Administration and by the Globalist outlooks of President Bush (41). The current Bush Administration's trends have been towards those of moderately more Globalism and loosening controls on US domestic affairs in the economic realm to Transnationalist outlooks backed by Globalist finances. The economic problems currently seen are directly traceable to the Transnationalist work done by the Carter Administration and not curbed by any subsequent Administration and enhanced by multiple Congresses of both Parties. While there is some understanding of trade necessities for economic growth, there are none in place for accountability by those who trade with us who do NOT actively go after terrorists and who may actually give safe haven and support to various networks of terrorists. The support of anti-Nationalist trends via Globalism is not one that spells out either prosperity or safety for the United States, and yet is happily at home in the Republican Party. While the Republican Party generally supports a somewhat coherent Military Policy, their Party was responsible for the failure of support and funding for the armed forces throughout the mid-to-late 1990's and two entire Army Divisions falling to their lowest readiness since Vietnam as Congressional Republicans would not do their duty as Congressmen and hold the President accountable for the use of the armed forces without Congressional authorization.
What is even worse is that faced with a growing threat of Mexico imploding on the southern border due to the melding of Transnational Terrorism and International Organized Crime, neither of them is prepared to address the issue in a substantive way. Both parties have been influenced by the strains of Transnationalism and Globalism to disregard Nation State boundaries and that puts the infiltration of external criminal organizations and terror organizations into the US as a known minimum number of events and an unrecorded number that goes unchecked without border enforcement. Both Transnationalism and Globalism are fanning the fires in which very rich Red Mafia oligarchs can invest in financed organized crime with an aim towards the natural resource wealth of Mexico and the ultimate consumer of much of it to the North. This puts both parties in a tenuous position to address any problems in Mexico and the resultant spill-over in the lead up to them going unchecked.
The lack of coherent understanding of ethnic problems in Central Asia is a result, not a cause, of US inability to respond to many other problems on a larger basis. In attempting to do group analysis with a Transnationalist or Globalist bent, and then using restricted modern concepts of Nation States and International Policy, the US is unable to show adaptability with what should be the most adaptable system of society and government ever developed by mankind. The Globalist and Transnationalist views that are anti-Nationalist, anti-democratic and anti-classical liberal in views has so eroded the ability of the political elite in America to understand what is happening in the world that this very same elite is floundering and threatening not only the stability of the United States but also that of the entire global system of trade, finance and commerce that have made for global population stability to occur. Without those systems or with an actual 'hot' nuclear war starting in Central Asia, the world would be faced with the collapse of the global trade system and the discrediting of both Globalism and Transnationalism as failures to actually address the small scale needs of ethnic groups.
The coarse tooth comb of modern political ignorance is faced with a very fine-tooth problem and cannot adapt nor adjust to these changed circumstances. It is not a new problem and has many other areas where similar factors show up: the Balkans, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa to name but a few regions with very similar and very volatile merging of the problems of the inability of the Western World to understand such things as personal liberty and accountability to society. International institutions have proven not only unable to deal with these things but actually make matters worse by inflaming local hatreds and then not protecting those they are supposed to protect.
Anything that upsets the global trade system, however, has at stake not just local Nation State problems but those of global interdependence for such things as food shipments. The US, as a main purveyor of many vital foodstuffs, serves as a major backbone to keep much of the world's population out of starvation, and yet the US is also unable to deal in any meaningful way with local ethnic problems or to confront trends that threaten this very same life support system.
Defuzing the possibility of a 'hot' nuclear war in Central Asia requires a change in political will and understanding to that of the earlier part of the Republic, and no political party is willing to give up 'modern' centralized and powerful governments for decentralized and yet accountable people taking up the fine-grained work that the 'modern' state is so woefully inadequate and incapable of responding to. Unable to think about such things either from ignorance or ideological blindness by following pat platitudes, the political elite class is now acting contrary to long-term survival interests of the Nation and to the overall population of the planet as a whole. And yet that is just what is at stake as the US has proven unable to adapt its Foreign Policy to such needs, and yet has all the vital tools at hand if it could just let go of power in its grasp. That very Fascist 'will to power' and belief that government can solve all ills, puts the blunt instrument of government smack dab against the fine grained institutions of individuals forming societies of a relatively unsophisticated form. And yet by taking up that unsophisticated form, it stymies all modern pre-conceptions about society, Nations and government. Because of that the US is now facing the specter of a Cold Civil War that has the prospect of going 'hot' the moment a COIN conflict starts in Mexico or Pakistan hits the pot and disintegrates.
This status quo will not last much longer as there are too many and too many varied interests seeking to push the vectors involved in ways that are inimical to the US and its allies.