On April 2nd, Mr. Lind posted THE VIEW FROM OLYMPUS: AN ABSENCE OF STRATEGY. The author makes the point that in World War II there were some deficiencies in the American war machine, but the strategy was sound and that made all the difference.
Nowadays, there is nothing coherent, as Lind puts it,
As we look at America’s current role in the Mideast’s Thirty Years’ War, the renewed war between Sunnis and Shiites, the most striking impression we get is of absence of strategy. In Iraq and Syria, we are simultaneously opposing both sides, the Sunnis because of ISIS and the Shiites because of Iran. Similarly, in Israel we oppose the Shiites of Hezbollah and the Sunnis of Hamas, despite the fact that our alliance with Israel is temporarily suspended after Mr. Netanyahu tore it up, spat on it and burned it during his election campaign. In Yemen, we are opposing both the Shiite Houthis and Sunni Al Qaeda. Presumably we will now back the Saudis in their intervention against the Houthis. The Saudis intervened against the Houthis once before. It did not go well.In that one paragraph, Mr. Lind kind of reminds us of the point Bill Murray makes in the bowling alley about how would you feel if you were doing the same stupid thing day after day. The working class guy he is hanging with has probably one of the few insights in his life when he chimes in, "That about sums it up for me."
We are doing the same stupid thing over and over and it's not working. What does Mr. Lind suggest,
We need a strategy. What should it be? The answer is obvious, low-risk, and cheap. Stay out and let Mohammedans fight their own damned Thirty Years’ War. With the exception of France, who came in late, none of the outside Powers who intervened in central Europe’s Thirty Years’ War benefited from doing so.That is not a bad policy. He further suggests,
As I have written before, the demographics of the Middle East guarantee war, supply-side war. The region teems with young men with nothing to do and no prospects. So what are they going to do? Fight. Our safe and simple strategy should be to let–nay, encourage–them to fight each other instead of fighting us.The Neutralist differs in that we wish all people would come to the conclusion peace is better than war. Reality is on Lind's side and it would be better they fight each other and not us.
I have a few questions about some of the finer points of the strategy,
That strategy places one clear demand on us at the operational and tactical levels: keep the lowest of low profiles. Local agents are a good idea; we do want to know what is going on. If some locals are planning to attack us despite our non-involvement, our agents can also be used for direct action. If some locals succeed in hitting us, then, briefly, we would go overt, with an annihilating punitive raid. Other than in that case, we would always appear to be five thousand miles away, which, lest we forget, we are. Geography is the starting point of strategy, and our two oceans still give us welcome strategic distance.I am okay with intelligence gatherers, but not covert ops. We would be in their land and that means, without troops or a large footprint, there should be nothing to hit. Any depredations on our soil are mostly due to a mindless immigration problem.
It's a small quibble. Mr. Lind is a rare font of sense. I have even seen him on Cspan. Well only once. He is worth seeking out.