Tuesday, October 03, 2006
How the World Failed Kosovo
For all those who cite Kosovo as a "success" this book is important to read and its discussions of what worked and what failed quite important.
Two points from it that apply across the board, not just to Kosovo.
First, the observation that Americans often believe "that inside every apparently embittered militant was a tolerant, pluralist democrat waiting to emerge once favourable conditions ahd been created."
More importantly, their concluding paragraph:
"If violent places like Kosovo are to be transformed into peaceful ones, voters in the most powerful countries must allow their elected leaders to take risks and to remain engaged long after the conflict has faded from the headlines. But democracies tend to be slow to recognize dangers and quick to tire. Given that places requiring intervention are likely to remain obscure to most in the West, gaining public support will be difficult. The best hope is for the bodies involved in international administrations to improve their own institutional memories and to be frank with their political masters and the public."
This theme, repeated again and again, of telling the truth, of being honest--keeps coming back to the fore.
The center of gravity in these sorts of conflicts will not be the infantry, cavalry and cannon. The center of gravity is the populations of the combatants.
Iran, Venezuela, and other states have learnt the lessons of Kosovo, Iraq, Iran-Iraq War, etc.
US & EU have consistently made the world more unstable and more unsafe over the last 26 years.
US & EU must, absolutely must, refrain from getting involved in external wars (civil or intra-state). They are the kings of the global heap and thus have a lot to loose by following their (to date) Jacobin policies. Their tendency to try to whimsically choose winners and losers, their lack of long-term commitment to make the peace stick, and their relatively short electoral cycle makes them unsuitable for the initiation, maintenance, and conclusion of these types of grand-strategic initiatives.
The Balkans, the Levant, South East Asia are just more visible failures of US & EU. Africa provides many more examples.
Folly: Kosovo be thy name.
Their tendency to try to whimsically choose winners and losers, their lack of long-term commitment to make the peace stick, and their relatively short electoral cycle makes them unsuitable for the initiation, maintenance, and conclusion of these types of grand-strategic initiatives.
I believe that Western powers do not properly understand their own power-center (the people) whereas the lesser powers have speant more time examining the strengths and weaknesses in the current balance.
Western countries (excluding Israel) with small, volunteer militaries are at a disadvantage in prolonged conflicts.