Winning the Peace Ch. 1 (AKA: Not Nation-Building Ch. 96)

I’ve had opportunity to work overseas with many of Uncle Sam’s alphabet soup agencies (DEA, CIA, DOS, USAID, etc.) and have generally been underwhelmed by their lack of foreign language skills and understanding of the local culture. On the other hand they are filled with lot of really intelligent people with advanced degrees who speak and write English extremely well but seem to have little familiarity with making stuff happen. Nothing wrong with advanced degrees and such, but sometimes speaking fluent Spanish is more helpful in understanding why a Bolivian coca grower is not so keen on the alternative crop program. Maybe if our people understood the realities of his world, they would know that the buyers of coca leaves will ship his product to market. Potato buyers don’t. 

Yes, even in Latin America our government representatives often fail to communicate – sometimes with horrendous results. An example of this resulted in a Cessna with U.S. missionaries on board being shot down in Peru in 2001 killing the mother and her baby daughter. (News article here: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cia-lies-led-death-american-mother-baby-daughter/story?id=12058432) From a State Department report of this incident: The language limitations of Peruvian and American participants – particularly under stress – played a role in reducing the timely flow of information, and comprehension of decisive messages related to the April 20 interception of OB-1408.

Back to the present, why are we transferring state of the art airplanes and tanks to Egypt? What is the threat that Egypt must defend herself from? Expert advice on this transfer should have been provided by Foreign Area Officers (FAO), who are (supposed to be) country/regional experts with a high level of foreign language proficiency in their target language. Maybe senior leaders received sound and expert recommendations from FAOs regarding this transfer and ignored it, or maybe not.

Albert Einstein is credited as having said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Our strategy to win the Global War on Terror appears to have gone at least partially mad. Not evolutionary but revolutionary change in how we combat Islamic supremacism is long past due, and leaders must also be able describe what winning the peace actually should look like in order to accomplish the mission. No nation can long project power without a super-powered economy; and with the continuing deterioration of our economy, Department of Defense had better develop a sense of urgency in stopping the tide of Salafism while we still have the economic engine to fight back.

There is a “weapon” in woefully short supply that wielded properly in coordination with border security and energy independence should knock the Salafists back on their heels. The weapon needed is authentic Foreign Area Officers (FAO) in the “field of combat” vice those currently doing not so hazardous wine and dine duty in the world’s capitals. Given our nation’s security and fiscal crises, the current FAO program is under strength with a training and education program never up to the task, and too expensive and inefficient to be justified. FAO training and education needs to be divorced from the academic environment and wedded to a blue collar focus. The ineffectiveness of the current program is significantly due to the fact that few senior military leaders speak a foreign language fluently or have lived overseas outside the cocoon of American education and military systems; and therefore, have little if any practical knowledge of how to train FAOs, their full potential, or how to effectively utilize them.

Since the end of World War II, our nation’s military has won almost all the battles while not really winning any wars. This suggests that it is high time to consider new strategies, even different tactics, techniques, and procedures. We are a nation at war whether the media and ruling class admit it or not. If our FAOs were properly trained and organized they might be able develop and implement a strategy designed to win. In the absence of a coherent strategy, recommend retool the FAOs’ training and task them to develop strategies, guide the use of lethal and non-lethal operations through victory and beyond, and describe what the peace looks like.

17 thoughts on “Winning the Peace Ch. 1 (AKA: Not Nation-Building Ch. 96)

  1. Maybe 10 years too late, someone will understand my concept to Win the Peace and use it to return China to its rightful place.

    Sadlly, this strategy has been made impossible or next to impossible by Jo Biden’s regime. Hunter B., our nation turns its eyes to you to save us from your demented father.

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  2. I’m going to speak out a tad more aggressively here Simon, so bear with me…

    “Winning the peace” has nothing to do with nation building but everything to do with scaring the bejesus out of your enemies so they are afraid of repercussions.

    Trump understood this and it worked.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “…scaring the bejesus out of your enemies so they are afraid of repercussions.”
      WP
      Yes and that is the intent of my “Winning the Peace” (WP) series; unless we are top dog, WP loses its punch.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. On the other hand, our enemies must be watching our endless mostly peaceful protests and patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

      There was more courage on Iwo Jima than exists in America from sea to shining sea today. Michelle O. and I are deeply ashamed of our country, embarrased even.

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  3. I think looking toward Beau Biden might be more effective. Liz, ST knows this better than any of us, non? I read his quiet tone in the post as that of an officer and a gentleman, not as an unwillingness to engage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will cheerfully engage with the enemy but a grunt is the last one who actually looks forward to things going, as we now like to say, kinetic. Politicians, the military industrial complex, and arm-chair generals are more excited about going to war than is your average grunt.

      Grunts know the cost of freedom.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “Grunts know the cost of freedom.”

        Indeed they do; as do those who know and love them. Anything as effective as “WtP” in avoiding kinetic events is bound to be ignored/discredited.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think they know that they have not the first clue as to how to make WtP happen. That’s why I get no love, plus it puts a lie to the Green Berets professionalism and dedication to free the oppressed. One is more likely to go from free to oppressed if not dead for partnering with so-called Special Forces. See: M0ntagnards.

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2013/11/the-green-berets-and-the-montagnards-how-an-indigenous-tribe-won-the-admiration-of-green-berets-and-lost-everything.html

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The CIA and Green Berets created a “Nica Invasion” during the 1980s by flying them into Arkansas for training. Am betting no more than 50% fled into the land of milk and honey preferring to be here illegally than returning to fight and possibly die por El Patria. ¡Viva Mexico!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 20 years ago, I studied political theory at UMass. At the time, several professors pointed out to me that I almost fulfilled the requirements for something they called a “certificate in international relations.” I only needed to take a couple of more classes to get that certificate, and they tried to impress upon me that I ought to take those classes and get that certificate. I didn’t, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because this certificate seemed like a joke to me. I had no foreign language skills at all, had barely traveled outside the country, and the classes required for the certificate were mostly bullshit. But everyone I spoke to seemed to take this certificate very seriously.

    I just could not believe that taking 5 or 6 bullshit college classes would make me any kind of authority on international relations. Stupid me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just could not believe that taking 5 or 6 bullshit college classes would make me any kind of authority on international relations.

      Because you don’t have a degree from Ivy League.

      Liked by 1 person

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