July 22, 2006


U.S. needs help from World of Order (Thomas Friedman, 22 July 2006, Deseret News)

Lebanon, alas, has not been able to produce the internal coherence to control Hezbollah and is not likely to soon. The only way this war is going to come to some stable conclusion anytime soon is if The World of Order — and I don't just mean "the West," but countries like Russia, China, India, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia too — puts together an international force that can escort the Lebanese army to the Israeli border and remain on hand to protect it against Hezbollah...
I am not talking about a U.N. peacekeeping force. I am talking about an international force, like the one that liberated Kosovo, with robust rules of engagement, heavy weapons and troops from countries like France, Russia, India and China that Iran and its proxies will not want to fight...
Bush and Condoleezza Rice need to realize that Syria on its own is not going to press Hezbollah — in Bush's immortal words — to just "stop doing this s---." The Bush team needs to convene a coalition of The World of Order. If it won't, it should let others more capable do the job. We could start with the elder George Bush and Bill Clinton, whose talents could be used for more than just tsunami relief...

Hey Guys!... Guys!... I had this great idea last night!... Yeah, I had the bong out for a while... So what?... Listen!... There's not a New World Order, there's a World of Order and a World of Disorder!... And all we have to do is get the Forces of Order to act together and we can solve all this mess in the Middle East!... What?... Who's in the World of Order?... Dude, it's obvious when you think about it... There's us and Russia, China, India, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia... Hey, cut it out, I'm serious here!

Posted by Pepys at July 22, 2006 1:43 PM

"There's us and Russia, China, India, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia... " Please keep us out of this World of Order, every other member, except India, is authoritarian and anti-Israel. He wants us and India to provide cover and legitimacy to ruthless authoritarians. Friedman's definitely smoking something.

Posted by: ic at July 22, 2006 9:34 PM

Matt Murphy calls this the Bong Hit School of Analysis too.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2006 9:44 PM

Pepys scored on this one. Classic. I don't have Friedman's vision. Better go scrape some resin from the bowl...

Posted by: Scott at July 22, 2006 10:52 PM

How'd his column escape from behind the Times paid wall? Can we send it back?

Posted by: Melissa at July 22, 2006 11:03 PM

Hay dude, how 'bout Turkey, Greece, and them Banana Republics in Latin America? Man, you got the munchies? Oh, and hay, how 'bout Lemonon and Wisconson? Wisconson? That's a state bongbreath! I know, but they make cheese there. Oh; okay. Pass the bong man.

Posted by: Dave W at July 23, 2006 12:03 AM

And Hamburg! Dude, that's a city, in Germany, I think.

Posted by: Dave W at July 23, 2006 12:19 AM

Sophmoric personal insults really are my strong suit.

That and my looks got me where I am today.

Posted by: Pepys at July 23, 2006 12:27 AM

Judy to Mickey: I know what! Let's put on a show in your dad's barn. Yeah. That'll do the trick. Don't forget your tap shoes.

Posted by: erp at July 23, 2006 8:21 AM

The point is made in Mandelbaums's The Case for Goliath that all these statelets named above are signaling their acquiescence in the world government by their weapons posture. To paraphrase what a local politician once said about money while angling for a bribe, "Weapons talk, bulls**t walks."

Consider the projections of tactical air power for the next decade. We observe that the entire rest of the planet is headed for a condition inferior to the world government somewhat in quantity and to a greater extent in quality. Our aircraft will much more stealthy than theirs. Bulls**t walks.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 23, 2006 8:34 AM

Lou Gots says that "[American] aircraft will be much more stealthy than [anyone else's]."

To expand on that for the non-military-geeks, the reason why that matters, why it's such a big, BIG deal, is that modern air combat had been largely equalized by air-to-air missiles* between approximately 1970 and 1990.

Since WW I, through the Korean war, aircraft fought each other at relatively close range, and victory in "dogfights" usually went to superior equipment and superior pilots.

However, as air-to-air missiles and radar systems got better, the edge of better airframes flown by better-trained pilots was degraded. Now, to achieve parity, all you needed was a really good missile, combined with an adequate pilot and almost any aircraft; and missiles are much cheaper than cutting-edge fighters and constant pilot training.
Air-to-air combat was conducted from a range of miles, sometimes without either party having visual contact.

If, on the other hand, one nation's pilots can detect, target, and attack another nation's aircraft before the targeted aircraft even realize that they're sharing the sky, then it's game over.
THAT is why stealth re-writes the playbook, and why it's such a massive force-multiplier - you can't shoot down what you can't see, what your missiles won't lock onto.

Welcome to the world of the F/A-22 Raptor, which allows the U.S. to establish air superiority almost anywhere.

Now, some argue that the undeniably-super-expensive Raptor is a Cold War relic, and that the programme's massive technical achievements and the aircraft's uber-lethality are moot, because America shan't again face an enemy fielding a massive air force in an attempt to support massive ground operations, at least not within the Raptor's operational lifetime.

I say, yes, that's probably so, but it's not guaranteed, is it ?
Further, if the existence of built-and-deployed F/A-22s dissuades possible future American opponents from even attempting a next-gen fighter programme, then the programme will have been extraordinarily cheap peace insurance, rather like the SDI ballistic missile defense programme.
That argument is also one of the points of the Project for the New American Century - winning through intimidation.

* In theory, at least. While no world powers have clashed, flying well-trained pilots in top-notch airframes in large numbers, since Vietnam, there have been many clashes between American aircraft and various second-world air forces.
It turns out that pilot training still counts for A LOT; for instance, no F-18s have been shot down by enemy aircraft in such clashes, although they've shot down quite a few enemy fighters. All of our losses have come from anti-aircraft ground fire and accidents.

In the Falklands conflict, Royal Navy Sea Harriers shot down 23 Argentinan fast jets with no air-to-air losses themselves, although 6 Sea Harriers were lost to ground fire or accidents.

However, six British ships were destroyed by missile or aircraft attack, most famously the destroyer HMS Sheffield, and ten other ships were damaged, some severely.
At the time, the British had no over-the-horizon radar capability, such as AWACS, so they were unable to see trouble coming before it was just minutes away, unless their air patrols were lucky enough to run across the enemy at a distance.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at July 24, 2006 6:18 AM