April 21st, 2017, 6:44 am
Mattis v. Kim, Bad for us all
The complete article is an intriguing read, and useful for understanding the snip below. The analyst, yes a former Obama Administration member, sees the conflict between the US and North Korea in terms of their theories of victory, which are strikingly similar:
"America’s more assertive theory of victory is not, on its own, a recipe for war. And in contexts outside Asia, seeking deliberate friction might be useful. For example, in situations where adversaries doubt U.S. resolve, where military signals don’t risk being mistaken for war, and where adversaries lack the ability to meaningfully retaliate against U.S. interests, such an assertive stance could be productive. But none of that applies to North Korea. The acute danger of offensively oriented U.S. thinking about coercion is that North Korea thinks in largely the same way, and has a massive, diverse retaliatory capability at its disposal."
The conclusion he reaches is basically this, that Trump'S free hand to Mattis is destabilizing, because it plays into how the North Korean leadership sees itself in relation to the US, and to warfare in particular.
As a side note about the Obama Administration, just to head off the usual tribal reactions and reflexes:
"In fairness, the U.S. military’s faith in the ability to signal resolve through military assets predates the Trump administration. Some version of the deterrence formula above was occasionally espoused by military counterparts when I served in the Pentagon during the Obama administration. The difference is that the Obama administration was notoriously risk-averse, and the White House micromanaged the Department of Defense, allowing it very little discretion on policy matters."
Last edited by Reinaert; April 21st, 2017 at 6:47 am.
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